AUTH/3544/7/21 - Anonymous v Lundbeck

Representative contact and call rates

  • Received
    20 July 2021
  • Case number
  • Applicable Code year
  • Completed
    25 April 2022
  • No breach Clause(s)
  • Additional sanctions
  • Appeal
    No appeal

Case Summary

An anonymous contactable complainant complained about representative contact and call rates at Lundbeck Limited.

The complainant stated that from July 2020 to June 2021, sales representatives were not briefed on how often health professionals could be called upon. Excessive calls had been made due to no briefing availability (more than three calls were regularly made as noted on the customer recording system, contradictory to guidance in the Code that three calls were the maximum).

The complainant alleged that calls and contacts had not been defined within this time as there was no guidance within a standard operating procedure (SOP). Promotional materials and items had not been approved for use in a virtual capacity within the same time period and no guidance was given in an SOP about remote calls. The complainant alleged that Lundbeck knew these activities were inappropriate but had not submitted a voluntary admission.

The complainant further alleged that the compliance culture at Lundbeck was not transparent.

The detailed response from Lundbeck is given below.

The Panel noted that Lundbeck did not provide the relevant SOP in relation to representatives; however, it provided the training slides, dated March 2021, in relation to the Lundbeck UK Representative Interactions SOP, which appeared to include screen shots from the SOP with further explanation. The Panel noted that these slides referred to calls and contacts, including definitions and the Code’s requirements in relation to frequency. The slides also referred to requirements in relation to remote detailing including that employees must only use platforms that had been approved by Lundbeck in this regard. The Panel further noted that training provided by an external consultant in January 2021 referred to the Code requirements in relation to call and contact rates and included Code cases.

Whilst the Panel noted that representatives were provided with briefings related to remote detailing and engagement with health professionals, these appeared to focus on logistical and technical matters and did not appear to be in the context of the Code requirements. It would be helpful if all briefings to representatives in relation to interactions with health professionals referred to the Code requirements in relation to frequency of calls and contacts. Nonetheless, the Panel did not consider that the complainant had discharged his/her burden of proof that there were no briefings provided by Lundbeck in relation to remote calls, distinguishing calls versus contacts and the frequency of calls, during the time period July 2020 to June 2021 as alleged, and the Panel ruled no breach of the Code.

The Panel noted Lundbeck’s submission that it did not identify that the number of calls, as defined by the Code, on any customer, exceeded 3 per year within the time period cited by the complainant (July 2020 – June 2021). The Panel noted that the complainant bore the burden of proof and did not consider that he/she had established that Lundbeck representatives had made excessive calls as alleged and therefore ruled no breach of the Code.

The Panel noted the allegation that promotional materials had not been approved for use in a virtual capacity but noted that no evidence had been provided. The Panel noted Lundbeck’s submission that the materials and emails available for use through the remote platform, that representatives had been trained to use, were certified for use in the ‘virtual capacity’. The Panel considered that the complainant had not provided evidence to demonstrate that promotional materials had not been approved as alleged and thus ruled no breach of the Code.

Noting its comments and rulings above, the Panel did not consider that Lundbeck had failed to maintain high standards or had failed to comply with Clause 2 and it consequently ruled no breach of the Code.