AUTH/3708/11/22 - Complainant v GSK

GSK’s activities at the European Respiratory Society meeting

  • Received
    16 November 2022
  • Case number
  • Applicable Code year
  • Completed
    15 December 2023
  • No breach Clause(s)
  • Breach Clause(s)
  • Sanctions applied
    Undertaking received
  • Additional sanctions
  • Appeal
    No appeal

Case Summary

This case concerned two sponsored presentations at a congress and the appropriateness of the presence of medical science liaison (MSL) staff on a promotional stand at the meeting.

The complainant alleged that the presentations were not fully transparent about the results from a meta-analysis of triple combination products for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and claims comparing the effects of Trelegy with other single inhaler triple therapies were incorrect and therefore misleading and not capable of substantiation.

The Panel ruled a breach of the following Clauses of the 2021 Code on the basis that overall, and on balance, the slides did not fairly reflect the data and health professionals might be misled as to the clinical relevance of certain results presented such that the presentation created a misleading impression which was incapable of substantiation:

Breach of Clause 5.1

Failing to maintain high standards

Breach of Clause 6.1

Making a misleading claim

Breach of Clause 6.2

Making an unsubstantiated claim

The Panel ruled no breach of the following Clauses of the 2021 Code because in its view the complainant had not established that the MSLs had acted in a promotional capacity that required them to take an appropriate examination for representatives or that their activities constituted disguised promotion. The Panel did not consider that in relation to the matters alleged, GSK’s actions had brought discredit upon, or reduced confidence in, the pharmaceutical industry.

No Breach of Clause 2 (x2)

Requirement that activities or materials must not bring discredit upon, or reduce confidence in, the pharmaceutical industry

No Breach of Clause 5.1

Requirement to maintain high standards

No Breach of Clause 9.4

Requirement that representatives take an appropriate examination within their first year of employment and pass it within two years

No Breach of Clause 15.6

Requirement that promotional material and activities must not be disguised

This summary is not intended to be read in isolation.
For full details, please see the full case report below.