MSD cleared by PMCPA
Merck Sharp Dohme has been found not guilty of breaching two clauses in the ABPI Code of Practice – including the most serious one, which involves bringing pharma itself into disrepute.
An anonymous complainant had said that the company’s retrospective rebate scheme to hospitals and clinics for its oral contraceptive Cerazette amounted to an inducement to prescribe – thus breaching clause 18.1 of the Code, which deals with gifts or benefits given to doctors.
Nothing “may be supplied, offered or promised to members of the health professions or to administrative staff in connection with the promotion of medicines or as an inducement to prescribe, supply, administer, recommend, buy or sell any medicine”, the Code states.
If this were upheld, the PMCPA would be likely to find MSD also in breach of clause 2 of the Code, which deals with causing discredit to, and reduction of confidence in, the industry – and specifically includes inducement to prescribe as one of its major bugbears.
The complainant – who, crucially, was not contactable – said that MSD may have been using the rebate to make up for potential loss of market share following the launch of several different generic versions of Cerazette.
However, MSD denied offering such a deal, admitting that it did have other discount arrangements in place but insisting that these were not retrospective.
Since the PMCPA panel which investigated the case could find no evidence that the manufacturer was not telling the truth, it ruled that there was no breach: the burden falls on the complainant to prove his or her case on the balance of probabilities.
They could not be contacted for further information, which meant there was no way of seeing whether more light could be shed on the alleged activities around Cerazette.
The PMCPA verdict will be published in the August 2013 Review.
Merck (known as MSD outside of the US and Canada) and Caraway Therapeutics have announced …
Merck, known as MSD outside of the US, has announced that the US Food and …