The​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA) has announced that Astellas Pharmaceuticals, Sunovion Pharmaceuticals and Shield Therapeutics have all breached the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry's (ABPI) Code of Practice.

For breaching the Code, the three companies will be named in advertisements appearing in the British Medical Journal on January 5, the Nursing Standard on  January 9, and the Pharmaceutical Journal on January 26 next year.

Astellas UK will be named due to a payment to a hospital in 2010 as a medical educational good or service, which did not meet the requirements of the Code, as it was inappropriately linked to the use of Advagraf (tacrolimus). Paired with failing to keep proper records, the company has been accused of bringing discredit upon, and reducing confidence in, the pharmaceutical industry.

Sunovion was publicly reprimanded after the voluntary admittance of its failure to disclose and document interactions with patient organisations to which it provided financial support or significant indirect support.

The company was ruled again in breach for bringing discredit upon and reducing confidence in the pharmaceutical industry, as well as failing to maintain high standards or disclose an accurate list of patient organisations to which it provided financial support and significant indirect or non-financial support.

Finally, Shield will be named in the advertisements for producing a website that promoted both licensed and unlicensed medicines to the general public, that was uncertified and did not include or refer to prescribing information.

Its action fell foul of many clauses in the Code, including but not limited to: Bringing discredit upon and reducing confidence in the pharmaceutical industry; promoting unlicensed medicines; failing to certify and promoting a prescription only medicine to the public; and producing a website that contained promotional material which was not directed towards health professionals and other relevant decision makers.