AUTH/3560/9/21 – Anonymous Health Professional v Sanofi

Conduct of a representative – Diabetes review service

  • Received
    26 September 2022
  • Case number
  • Applicable Code year
  • Completed
    31 May 2022
  • No breach Clause(s)
  • Additional sanctions
  • Appeal
    No appeal

Case Summary

An anonymous complainant who could not be contacted and who described him/herself as a nurse health professional complained about the conduct of a Sanofi diabetes representative.

The complainant stated that he/she worked within a named clinical commissioning group (CCG) and that the conduct of a named Sanofi representative had caused concern. The complainant stated that despite explaining to the representative that he/she did not want to sign up to a diabetes review service, the representative had continued to ask the complainant to sign up ‘as a favour’, which made the complainant feel pressurised and harassed.

The complainant stated that the named representative had previously been a good representative but would not be seeing him/her anymore; the complainant felt the representative had been pressurised into this behaviour by his/her superiors.

The detailed response from Sanofi is given below.

The Panel noted Sanofi’s submission that the account executive had no recollection of any concerns raised by any health professional on any topic, including the Diabetes Therapy Review Service and it did not find any evidence of any inappropriate conduct by the account executive or their manager in relation to activities with health professionals on the therapy review service. The Panel noted that it was impossible in such circumstances to determine precisely what had happened. The Panel noted, however, that extreme dissatisfaction was usually required on the part of an individual before he or she was moved to complain. The Panel noted that the complainant was anonymous and non-contactable and could therefore not be contacted for more information.

A judgement had to be made on the available evidence and on the balance of probabilities, noting that the complainant bore the burden of proof. The Panel did not consider that the complainant had established, on the balance of probabilities, that the representative in question had behaved inappropriately as alleged and therefore had failed to maintain a high standard of ethical conduct. No breach of the Code was ruled.

The Panel noted that the briefing material informed certain staff, including account executives, of what they needed to do if a health professional proactively discussed or requested the Diabetes Therapy Review Service. Account executives were instructed not to engage in any discussion about the service under any circumstances or make any comments even if requested by a health professional. Such enquiries were to be directed to the MSL.

The Panel did not have any evidence before it that the briefing document advocated, either directly or indirectly, any course of action which would be likely to lead to a breach of the Code as alleged. The Panel thus ruled no breach of the Code.