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MSD suspended from ABPI for three months

Merck Sharp & Dohme Ltd has been suspended from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry for at least three months.

The Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority, which polices the ABPI code of practice, found that MSD had offered services to improve blood pressure control only to GP practices that used MSD’s Cozaar (losartan) as their treatment of choice.

A former MSD representative reported the company to the PMCPA after questioning the scheme within the company. He alleged that representatives had been told to use their acumen to circumvent the ABPI code.

The suspension was imposed after the investigation was reported to the PMCPA appeal board and the ABPI management board. The precise length of the suspension will depend on an audit of procedures introduced by MSD to prevent a recurrence.

MSD Ltd’s managing director, Chris Round, said: “We are working hard to reaffirm our core values and standards, and restore confidence and pride in our business practices.”

This is not the first time that MSD methods for promoting Cozaar have got it into trouble. At the end of last year, the company was found to have misrepresented British Hypertension Society guidelines to make them seem more favourable to Cozaar.

MSD is the second company to be suspended from the ABPI since the introduction of a tougher code of practice at the beginning of the year (PJ, 18 February, p192). The only previous suspensions before that were of two companies in 1994

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 10002296

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