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Pharma company faces sanctions over 'lavish' meeting

Stirling Anglian's board meeting for 12 NHS staff deemed 'unacceptable'
16/12/2015

The hotel in Baden Baden where delegates stayed.

A drugs manufacturer is facing sanctions after its advisory board meeting with senior NHS staff was deemed overly "lavish" and "unacceptable".


Stirling Anglian was found to have breached the conduct code in relation to a meeting with 12 NHS 'payors' in Germany, following an investigation by the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA).


The delegates had an overnight stay in Hotel Belle Epoque, a deluxe hotel in Baden-Baden and had a tour of Stirling Anglia's manufacturing facilities as part of the meeting. They were also paid £1,000 for the two days and treated to dinner at £71 a head.


Following an undercover investigation, The Daily Telegraph quoted one attendee's claims there was a jacuzzi in the middle of his room and that "even the waste bins were gold-plated". Stirling Anglian called his statements "false or grossly exaggerated".


In its interim report, the PMCPA ordered Stirling Anglian to issue a corrective statement to the delegates and also called for an audit of the company's procedures.


"The panel was concerned that irrespective of whether it was justifiable to visit the manufacturer, the arrangements were unacceptable," the report said.


"There was no need for the delegates to stay in Baden-Baden. Accommodation nearer to the manufacturer should have been used. The hotel used was not appropriate, it appeared to be a lavish and deluxe venue. The location and facilities were still more akin to leisure travel than business purposes. " 


The Panel said it was also concerned about the cost of dinner, which at £71 each exceeded the limit in the German pharmaceutical code of €66 (£48).


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