de Presse Medicale for Reuters Health) - The UK's
Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (APBI)
said on Friday it has reinstated Abbott Laboratories'
membership to the pharma body following the U.S. group's
suspension in February. In a brief statement, the ABPI
said its board of management "has noted that the
importance of complying with the ABPI Code of Practice has
been made clear to all Abbott staff, and an audit report
in May referred to the company's commitment to compliance
and its progress in recent months".
It added that the ABPI board decided the U.S. group should
have its membership reinstated with effect from July 1st.
However, it said there will be a "further audit" within
six months to ensure progress is being maintained. The
ABPI added that Abbott's membership was suspended after it
was found have breached the code that deals with
activities that "bring discredit on, or reduce confidence
in, the pharmaceutical industry".
The ABPI said in February Abbott had been associated with
"inappropriate" hospitality, including a visit to a lap
In a statement then, the ABPI said it had suspended Abbott
after company reps invited up to 36 health professionals
to visit a restaurant in a greyhound stadium and, on
another occasion, offered hospitality to a senior hospital
manager at a Wimbledon tennis tournament including centre
None of the events, which took place in 2004, involved
educational content; they were also disproportionately
expensive and were, therefore, in breach of the industry's
UK code of conduct, the ABPI said in the February
statement. In a third complaint against Abbott, the ABPI
heard that following a two-day workshop and dinner, a
health professional and two company representatives
visited a lap dancing club. In defence, Abbott argued that
because it did not pay for the lap dancing and the events
took place outside working hours, the activity fell
outside of the ABPI's code of conduct. But the ABPI
decided that "irrespective of whether company money had
been used to fund the visit to the nightclub, such
activity would bring discredit upon, and reduce confidence
in the pharmaceutical industry".
The U.S. company said then it had a "zero tolerance
policy" for behaviour that breached the company's code of
conduct. It added that the allegations related to the
individual actions of a small number of employees in 2004.
After a "thorough examination", the employees involved
either resigned or had their employment terminated.