AUTH/3225/7/19 - Complainant v UCB

Lack of non-proprietary name

  • Received
    15 July 2019
  • Case number
  • Applicable Code year
  • Completed
    17 October 2019
  • Breach Clause(s)
  • Sanctions applied
    Undertaking received
  • Additional sanctions
  • Appeal
    No appeal
  • Review
    To be published in the February 2020 Review

Case Summary

A complainant, who described him/herself as a concerned UK health professional, complained about material placed on a BMJ website by UCB Pharma Ltd.

The material was described by UCB as a ‘tile’; its only written content was the UCB corporate logo followed beneath by medicine name ‘Viridal’. Written on the lower edge of the tile was ‘MEN’S HEALTH’. Viridal (alprostadil) was used to treat erectile dysfunction.

The complainant noted that there was no non-proprietary name or unique identifier [reference number] and so he/she was concerned that it had not been certified.

The detailed response from UCB is given below.

The Panel noted that the tile contained the brand name of the medicine (Viridal) but not the non-proprietary name. The Panel had not seen copies of correspondence nonetheless, UCB appeared to have been let down by its third party agency which generated the tile without submitting it to UCB for certification.

Nonetheless, it was a principle under the Code that pharmaceutical companies were responsible for those acting with their authority. As there was no non-proprietary name immediately adjacent to the brand name, and as the tile had not been certified as alleged the Panel ruled breaches of the Code as acknowledged by UCB.