Fire in the Hole – Cephalon Cited for Inappropriate Marketing, Use of Fire-Eaters as Entertainment

Cephalon was recently given a rebuke by the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry (“ABPI”) for providing “inappropriate hospitality” to thirteen healthcare professionals during a convention in Lisbon, Portugal in 2009.  The ABPI reacted to an anonymous complaint filed by a perturbed Cephalon employee, who witnessed the company’s largesse in marketing its fentanyl products.

The ABPI was moved to admonish Cephalon thanks, in part, to an official feedback document distributed to Cephalon employees, and which included commentary like “took them clubbing” and “we then went to a few bars and to a club until 3am – a few good photos to prove it!!!”  The ABPI also uncovered evidence that Cephalon employees had marketed a fentanyl product known as Effentora, prior to receiving the authorization to do so.

Ultimately, the ABPI concluded that Cephalon’s conduct amounted to a “general party atmosphere” and a breach of appropriate standards that threatened to bring discredit to the industry overall.  The ABPI report noted that bar bills from the event ran quite high, and the company even furnished live entertainment, including fire-eaters, for the healthcare professionals being wooed by Cephalon.

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