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Advisory boards have their place

I would like the opportunity of a right of reply to your news story referencing the company I head up, Stirling Anglian Pharmaceuticals (SAP), which repeated erroneous claims about Advisory Board hospitality as part of an investigative report by The Daily Telegraph (The Pharmaceutical Journal 2015;295:105).

We did indeed hold an advisory board meeting in early July, organised by independent consultancy JTRx in Baden Baden, led by Paul Jerram. This event was run in compliance with the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry Code of Compliance and SAP did not pay for the accommodation or entertainment of the 12 NHS invitees. Full due diligence was undertaken before the event and none of the hospitality (actually paid for by the manufacturer), was in excess of normal industry standards.

Advisory boards are a well recognised way for healthcare professionals to be educated and informed of future products and developments that might benefit patients. On this occasion, NHS clinical commissioning group members were grateful for the opportunity to visit the facility in Germany and observe the quality of our manufacturing partner’s process at first hand. The visit was particularly useful because the NHS has been let down by other suppliers and our customers are keen to assure themselves as to the reliability of our manufacturing. We listened to their requests and seek to use advisory boards to guide us in the products we develop.

I am passionate about our business. We are a family-owned British success story whose ethos is oriented around delivering quality, value and savings to the NHS. We strongly believe we are “a force for good” and I resent the inference that SAP would act unprofessionally by ignoring industry codes of practice or that we have behaved in anything other than our customary professional manner. We continue to offer top quality products and, importantly, cost-effective products with no compromise to patient safety.

We do not recognise Mr Jerram’s colourful description of the event or the level of hospitality involved or the suggestion that the event led to guests switching to our product. We are currently co-operating with the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority in their investigation.

Andrew Perrie

CEO

Stirling Anglian Pharmaceuticals

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2015.20069117

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