Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry Suspends Roche
Inappropriate sales of Xenical to a proprietor of diet clinics and payments to fund the owner’s purchase of another clinic prompted the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) to suspend Roche’s membership for six months.
The allegations concerned activities that took place between 2003–2005, according to the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA), a group that administers the trade group’s code of practice.
“The panel considered that the arrangements brought discredit upon the pharmacutical industry,” a PMCPA panel concluded.
Although the clinic supplied Roche with a valid general medical council number of a physician, Roche violated the ABPI code by supplying Xenical (orlistat) to the diet clinics’ owner, who sold the medication directly to patients. The owner of the clinics claimed to be a licensed pharmacist, but he was not.
“With regard to the supply of Xenical, the panel was extremely concerned about the circumstances, which had led to a prescription-only medicine, in effect, being supplied to a person who was not a health professional, and by that person to patients,” the panel said.
Xenical, sold as OTC weight-loss agent Alli by GlaxoSmithKline in the U.S., is a prescription medication in the UK.