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ABPI welcomes Roche back into the fold eight years after suspension

Published on 01/09/16 at 03:12pm

Less than a decade after the company was suspended, Roche has now successfully re-joined the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.

Originally suspended for a period of six months, Roche sensationally refused to re-join the ABPI in 2009. Roche's UK affiliate was suspended from the ABPI for six months in 2008 after it came to light the company had made payments to private diet clinics which prescribed Roche's obesity drug Xenical - a major breach of the Code of Practice.

At the time, Roche UK’s Susie Hackett told Pharmafocus: “It's not to do with the Code, it's to do with the membership of the ABPI. We will be completely compliant with the Code of Practice, and we are committed to working within the self-regulatory system."

Time has certainly softened the Swiss drugmaker’s stance, however, as it has now returned to the ranks of the ABPI, effective from September 1st. In the UK, the company has recently called for urgent reform of the Cancer Drugs Fund, which is now under the remit of NICE.

Richard Erwin, current general manager at Roche Products, says: “Our industry can be subject to significant environmental shifts and we recognise how important it will be to collaborate with other companies, the NHS and healthcare professionals to ensure that UK patients can get access to world leading healthcare.”

The ABPI, meanwhile, is very happy to welcome Roche back into the fold, meaning the trade association now represents nine out of ten of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies.

Mike Thompson, ABPI chief executive, says: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Roche to the ABPI. This is an exciting and critical time for the UK pharmaceutical industry as we face up to a number of challenges, in particular addressing life outside the European Union. It’s important that the ABPI can provide a coherent and aligned voice for our industry which represents the views of companies large and small.

“Therefore, having the world’s largest biotech company sign up to full membership really is a boost and couldn’t have come at a more crucial time. We very much look forward to working with all of the staff at Roche.”

Astellas UK will have the opportunity to re-join the ABPI early next year after it was suspended for twelve months due to presenting a “knowingly false and intentionally misleading” account of an advisory meeting held in Milan in February 2014.

Sean Murray

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