Peak Drug Industry Body Sin Bins Roche

The Swiss drug company Roche has been suspended from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) after adverse findings over its promotion of the weight-loss drug Xenical. The Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority, the body created by ABPI to handle complaints over its self-regulatory code of conduct, found that an agreement by Roche to invest £55,000 in a weight loss clinic that would prescribe the company's drug "brought discredit upon, and reduced confidence in, the pharmaceutical industry." The authority also found that by selling Xenical to the clinic owner, who posed as a pharmacist, Roche "had sold a prescription only medicine to a member of the public." The complaint was brought by Ryta Kuzel, the former head of UK regulatory affairs for Roche, who argues that she was fired because the company feared she would blow the whistle on the Xenical scandal.