AUTH/3253/10/19 - Anonymous v Celgene

Promotion of Otezla

  • Received
    07 October 2019
  • Case number
  • Applicable Code year
  • Completed
    14 February 2020
  • Breach Clause(s)
  • Sanctions applied
    Undertaking received
  • Additional sanctions
  • Appeal
    No appeal

Case Summary

A complainant, who described him/herself as a concerned UK health professional, complained that an advertisement for Otezla (apremilast), placed on by Celgene Limited, had no unique identifier or a link to prescribing information; it appeared that the material had not been certified. Otezla was indicated for psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis.

The response from Celgene is detailed below.

The Panel noted that the material in question, described by Celgene as an information tile entry point for Otezla advertising materials, bore the brand name and logo above a claim for the product and appeared on the BMJ website on a page which hosted content from companies/advertisers. Clicking on the tile led the reader to a promotional microsite for Otezla, the top of the first screen read ‘Prescribing information and adverse event reporting information can be found at the bottom of this webpage’.

The Panel noted that the first part of the material seen by the reader was the tile on the BMJ webpage. Noting the broad definition of promotion, the Panel considered that the content of the tile was promotional. In the Panel’s view, given that readers might not click through to the microsite, the tile should include a statement as to where prescribing information could be found by way of a clear and prominent direct single click. The Panel ruled a breach of the Code in relation to the failure to provide prescribing information, as acknowledged by Celgene.

The Panel noted Celgene’s submission that the tile was reviewed and certified as part of the microsite website. The Panel noted that the certificate in question certified the website; the tile was listed as one of a number of attachments to the job bag; none of which were the subject of the certificate. Such attachments would need to be separately certified. It appeared to the Panel on the information before it that the tile had not been certified. A breach of the Code was ruled.

With regard to the absence of a unique identifier on the material at issue, the Code did not refer to such but they were referred to in the guidelines on company procedures relating to the Code as good practice as a way of ensuring that a certificate was linked to a specific piece of material. No clause had been raised in relation to the matter and so the Panel made no ruling.