B-M cash gaffe: drugs client faces sanction

A top drugs company is to be named and shamed for 'bringing discredit upon, and reducing confidence in' the pharma industry following a Burson-Marsteller blunder.

The action will be taken against Janssen-Cilag, part of Johnson & Johnson, by the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority.

J-C was hauled before the PMCPA following a 9 June PRWeek story headlined ­‘B-M in NICE apology for media cash carrot' (See Related Stories).

The story was triggered by a B-M email offering­ ­journalists £200 to attend a NICE appeal hearing.

B-M at the time told PRWeek the offer was a ‘total breach of policy' and down to ‘human error'. It said: ‘It was not something the client knew about, and was a mistake by an individual. It shouldn't have happened. The client is supportive.'

But the PMCPA says J-C breached Clause 2 of the pharma industry's Code of Practice. It will be named and shamed in pharma trade journal ads - only the second time such action has been taken.

The PMCPA said J-C ‘had not actively managed its PR agency or taken all reasonable steps to ensure its agent did not breach the code', and that the company was - despite being unaware - responsible for B-M's action.

In a statement to PRWeek, J-C said: ‘Janssen-Cilag accepts the ruling of the [PMCPA] appeal board.

‘As a result of this, Janssen-Cilag is taking steps to ensure all suppliers, including PR agencies, are aware of their obligations under the ABPI's Code of Practice.'

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in