Monday, February 15, 2010
Rxing incentive schemes are illegal under EU law, says judge
Source: Pharma Times
An Opinion from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has supported the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) in its claims that prescribing incentive schemes operated by Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) in the UK are in fact banned under European law.
The Opinion, given late last week by Advocate General Nilo Jaaskinen, relates to the action brought in the High Court by the ABPI against the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The industry group’s case challenges PCTs’ establishment of such schemes - which reward doctors financially for prescribing specific named medicines - and suggests that they are in fact prohibited under Article 94(1) of European Directive 2001/83, which covers the provision of human-use medicines, including their advertising and promotion.
On July 3 2006, after the ABPI wrote to the MHRA expressing concern about the incentive schemes being implemented by PCTs, the MHRA had replied that, in its opinion, Article 94 covered incentive schemes “of a commercial nature” only. The ABPI disputed this interpretation and sought a review of the legality of the MHRA’s position in the High Court, which in turn asked the ECJ for an interpretation of Article 94 before it could give judgement.
In his Opinion on the matter, AG Jaaskinen last week concluded that prescribing incentive schemes do “have the deliberate and direct intention of promoting within the National Health Service (NHS) certain medicinal products at the expense of others,” and that they therefore amount to promotion, which is prohibited under Article 94(1) of Directive 2001/83.
Makes one wonder if offering money/gift tokens to girls if they have the cervical cancer vaccine is illegal then? After all, it's kind of promoting the vaccine, isn't it?
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Bob Fiddaman has been writing about the dangers of antidepressants since 2006. In 2011 he was presented with two human rights awards from the Citizens Commission on Human Rights.
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