Vifor Pharma, Celgene, Takeda and Pierre Fabre have been named in advertisements for breaching the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry’s (ABPI) Code of Practice thus bringing discredit upon and reducing confidence in the sector.

Vifor Pharma was ruled by the ABPI’s policing arm, the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA) to have breached eight different clauses in the Code for producing material that caused its representatives to create doubt about the safety of a competitor product and make misleading comparisons with Ferinject (ferric carboxymaltose for injection/infusion).

Also, it provided an unsolicited promotional email from its medical information department that was not fair or balanced about adverse reactions, the watchdog said.

Similarly, Celgene’s voluntary admission in relation to the firm and the materials produced for two meetings arranged to promote Otezla (apremilast) led to eight breaches of the Code, including promoting a prescription only medicine to the public (Clause 26.1), and providing an inducement to prescribe or recommend a medicine (Clause 18.1).

The PCMPA ruled that Takeda linked the company's funding of a course in return for a healthcare professional's support for one of its medicines, thereby breaching: Clause 2 - bringing discredit upon, and reducing confidence in, the pharmaceutical industry; Clause 9.1 - failing to maintain high standards; Clause 18.1 - providing an inducement to prescribe to an individual; and Clause 18.6 - providing an inducement to prescribe to an organisation comprised of health professionals.

Pierre Fabre breached the Code by failing to quality check bags that had been stored in a basement for three years before supplying them to pharmacies to use when dispensing Navelbine (vinorelbine) Oral to patients. As well as bringing discredit upon and reducing confidence in the industry, the firm also failed to maintain high standards, the PMCPA noted.

The advertisements naming the companies for their Code breaches will appear in the British Medical Journal on 18 March 2017, the Nursing Standard on 22 March 2017 and the Pharmaceutical Journal on 25 March 2017.

More information on the cases can be found on the PMCPA's website.