AUTH/3254/10/19 - Complainant v Napp

Introductory panel on BMJ hosted page

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

Case Summary

A complainant who described him/herself as a concerned UK health professional, alleged that the Invokana content hosted on the website appeared to be promotional. As there was no prescribing information or unique identifier, the complainant was concerned that the material had not been appropriately approved by the company. Invokana, marketed by Napp Pharmaceuticals Ltd, was used in the treatment of adults with insufficiently controlled type 2 diabetes as an adjunct to diet and exercise.

The detailed response from Napp is given below.

The Panel noted that the material at issue appeared on what was described as a BMJ hosted page which, according to Napp, featured 15 panels that each referred to a pharmaceutical company or a medicine. The top of the webpage read ‘Click on the Panels to find out more about our hosted content’. Napp submitted that twelve of the panels linked to promotional material and that each panel allowed the reader to click through to a microsite. Napp submitted that the introductory panels were not standalone promotional items, they were they were the links to the actual promotional content; the BMJ had confirmed that the panels were not promotional material.

The Panel considered, contrary to Napp’s inference, that merely because a panel linked to promotional material that did not mean that the panel itself was not promotional. Whether such a panel was promotional would depend, inter alia, on its content. The Panel noted the broad definition of promotion at Clause 1.2 of the Code. The Panel noted that the panel in question on the BMJ hosted webpage bore the prominent brand name in logo format, above text which read ‘The renal reason to intensify’. The brand name was repeated towards the bottom of the panel and above the word ‘Diabetes’. When hovering over the panel a pop-up box appeared which read ‘Visit microsite’ inviting the reader to click through beneath text within the pop-up box which invited the reader to find out how Invokana could help to reduce the risk of major adverse renal events in certain diabetics highlighting 3 clinical areas that were discussed in the microsite.

The Panel noted Invokana’s licensed indication as adjunctive therapy, in monotherapy or in combination, for the treatment of type 2 diabetes in certain patients. The Panel also noted that the microsite to which the panel linked was titled ‘The renal reason to intensify’ and discussed improvements in renal outcomes with Invokana.