The Act has attracted much controversy, and the ABPI has been at pains to liaise with the SFO to present the perspective of the pharmaceutical industry.
The ABPI and PMCPA have had meetings with both Richard Alderman, Director of the SFO, and Vivian Robinson, SFO’s General Counsel. The SFO believes that the ABPI Code of Practice will help companies governed by it in responding to the requirements of the Act, particularly in areas such as hospitality, gifts and inducements to prescribe to healthcare professionals. Of course, the Act’s remit goes wider than that, and pharmaceutical companies will be reviewing their procedures to ensure full compliance.
Discussions with the SFO have led to the development of a 'Memorandum of understanding' which provides some clarity around which agency is likely to lead on enforcement for breaches of the ABPI Code in cases where a Code breach is also a potential breach of the Act.