AUTH/3466/2/21 - Complainant v Lundbeck

Lundbeck website

  • Received
    01 February 2021
  • Case number
  • Applicable Code year
  • Completed
    27 September 2021
  • No breach Clause(s)
  • Breach Clause(s)
  • Sanctions applied
    Undertaking received
  • Additional sanctions
  • Appeal
    No appeal

Case Summary

An anonymous contactable complainant who described him/herself as a health professional complained about Lundbeck Limited’s corporate website and referred to his/her previous complaint about the same material (Case AUTH/3463/1/21).

The complainant noted multiple other issues and referred to the ‘About us’ page which he/she stated was not appropriate for members of the public and patients and had not been re-approved since 2018. The complainant added that as there was no prevention of access to the public, referring to the various links and noting that access was not limited to the home page as set out in Case AUTH/3463/1/21.

The complainant noted that Lundbeck UK seemed to have taken down the home page referred to in Case AUTH/3463/1/21 in order to prevent access to the global R&D page but had no oversight that another page also linked onto the same global website with information relating to pipeline and products; Lundbeck should have taken down that page too.

The complainant stated that the above highlighted how badly compliance had been governed in using multiple pages on the website to link to an inappropriate global page. The entire website had not been reapproved for use beyond a two-year point. All the dates on every page of the website were in 2018 and had therefore surpassed a two-year re-approval.

The website had been approved as one and the complainant alleged that it was unacceptable that only the home page was withdrawn as a result of Case AUTH/3463/1/21 when the entire website should have been withdrawn as approval would not allow alteration or approval of a single webpage at any one point without updating the other pages.

The detailed response from Lundbeck is given below.

The Panel noted Lundbeck’s submission that the UK website was certified on 7 December 2018 and therefore ruled no breaches of the Code, including Clause 2, in that regard.

The Panel considered that the complainant had not established that the research and development page was promotional and therefore no breach of the Code was ruled.

The Panel noted that the webpage which the user was taken to on the global site from the Lundbeck UK research and development page was titled ‘Disclosure of clinical trial information’; it gave the company’s policy for scientific publications and clinical trial data sharing. The Panel further noted Lundbeck’s submission that a user would have to navigate the global website in order to find the information on products and pipeline; visitors were not taken directly from the UK research and development page to the separate global pipeline and products pages. The Panel further noted Lundbeck’s submission that the Lundbeck UK website was approved with a ‘pop-up’ informing the reader that they were being redirected to a non-UK website for which Lundbeck UK had no responsibility and every page of the global website stated ‘GLOBAL’ at the top.

The Panel noted that the link provided by the complainant to the ‘about us’ webpage on the Lundbeck UK website was not available when accessed by the case preparation manager in this case. Lundbeck had intended to take down the UK website in its entirety in January 2021; the home page was ‘unpublished’, however, by mistake, the rest of the website remained live. The Panel further noted Lundbeck’s submission that when it discovered this error, the remaining pages of the UK website (including the ‘about us’ page) were taken down (on 1 February 2021) before it received this complaint on 4 February. The Panel noted that the website was first certified in December 2018, and whilst the homepage was unpublished in January 2021, the remaining pages of the website including the ‘about us’ page remained live until 1 February 2021.

The Panel noted Lundbeck’s submission that in withdrawing a single page of a website which was certified in its entirety, the final form of the website had been altered without re-certification; the Panel ruled a breach of the Code in that regard.

The Panel noted that a robust certification procedure underpinned self-regulation. The Panel noted its comments and ruling above and considered that high standards had not been maintained and a breach of the Code was ruled. It did not consider that the particular circumstances of this case warranted a ruling of a breach of Clause 2.