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Tuesday, 7 November 2006

NICE work if you can get it

It seems that the pharmaceuticals industry has interesting ways of getting writers to turn up for public hearings.

Over at the Center for Media and Democracy they have an item entitled Drug Company Takes Rap for Burson-Marsteller's Cash Offer to Journalists. This reports that a PR company offered hacks £200 as an inducement to attend a public hearing before the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), which was considering an appeal against one of its decisions on some drug or another.

It seems that the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA), a subset of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, has ruled that the drug company was being naughty. According to their web site, the case deals with "Alleged payment to journalist". The the ruling (a pdf file) suggests that there was a misunderstanding between the drugs maker and its PR company. That didn't wash with the PMCPA.