Advert - Vifor Pharma

Promotion of Ferinject

For making misleading and inaccurate claims which favourably differentiated Ferinject (ferric carboxymaltose) from a competitor on the grounds of tolerability, Vifor Pharma was ruled in breach of the following clauses of the Code:

Clause 2 - Bringing discredit upon, and reducing confidence in, the pharmaceutical industry

Clause 7.2 - Making misleading and inaccurate claims

Clause 7.3 - Making misleading comparisons

Clause 8.1 - Disparaging a competitor product

Clause 9.1 - Failing to maintain high standards

In both Case AUTH/3199/5/19 and Case AUTH/3224/7/19 Vifor Pharma was reported to the Code of Practice Appeal Board(2) which was very concerned that the initial responses from Vifor could be described as obstructive, defensive, aggressive, dissembling and untrue. The Appeal Board noted Vifor’s subsequent responses to the PMCPA and its admission of errors and that it accepted responsibility for the breaches of the Code. Although Vifor submitted that there had been consequential changes in its senior management and the company was committed to change how it promoted its medicines, the Appeal Board publicly reprimanded Vifor for its failure to provide accurate and truthful information to the Code of Practice Panel and its disingenuous approach to responding to the complaints. The Appeal Board also required an audit of Vifor’s procedures in relation to the Code.