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16 June 2006, National Office of Animal Health (UK)

Novartis and Bayer found in breach of revised NOAH code on promotion

Two companies have been found in breach of the NOAH Code of Practice on Promotion of Animal Medicines.
In its first rulings since the Code was extensively reviewed and updated last November, the Committee, chaired by Richard Arnold QC, judged that Novartis’ technical advice given on the use of Milbemax in concurrence with Pfizer’s Stronghold breached the provisions of the Code.
And Bayer’s offer to vets of a trip to Prague to coincide with the WSAVA Congress was deemed to breach the new rule on gifts and inducements as it required the direct purchase of medicines linked to the promotion.
Both companies have accepted the rulings of the Committee and will not continue to pursue these promotions or activities.
Full details of the cases can be seen on the NOAH website at www.noah.co.uk/code

Notes for Editors
1. For further information contact Phil Sketchley at NOAH, tel. +44 (0)20 8367 3131, or visit the NOAH website.
2. The National Office of Animal Health was formed on 1 January 1986 to represent the UK companies which research, develop, manufacture and market licensed animal health products. The association has 32 corporate members and 10 associate members. In 2004 NOAH's members accounted for well over 90% of the £398 million UK animal health market
3. Since 1974 the animal medicine industry has regulated the contents and quality of advertisements, leaflets and promotional activities under its Code of Practice for the Promotion of Animal Medicines which is obligatory for all NOAH members and companies participating in the NOAH Datasheet Compendium. The Code is administered by a committee of 15, including an independent chairman, veterinary and farming members as well as elected industry experts.
4. This release summarises the Code of Practice Committee meeting on 29 March 2006.
5. CASE NO. 251/01/06: NOVARTIS ANIMAL HEALTH LIMITED: STRONGHOLD® PROMOTIONS. This case involved the extension to the definition of promotion in Code of Practice Clause 1.1 and responses to alleged technical enquiries. The Complainant, Merial Animal Health Limited alleged the promotion of the concurrent use of Novartis Animal Health’s Milbemax product with Pfizer Animal Health’s Stronghold product, constituted a breach of Code of Practice Clauses 4.2, 4.3, 4.6, 4.7 and 5.1. Please refer to the NOAH website www.noah.co.uk/code for further details on how the Committee found a breach of clause 4.7.
6. CASE NO. 253/3/06: BAYER ANIMAL HEALTH: PRAGUE 2006 OFFER. This case, which arose shortly after the alteration to Code of Practice Rule 18 governing gifts and hospitality, was brought by Merial Animal Health Limited against the Respondent, Bayer plc, referable to the forthcoming WSAVA Congress in Prague in October 2006, in which the Respondent was offering to take recipients to Prague “to coincide” with the 31st WSAVA Congress. Please refer to the NOAH website www.noah.co.uk/code to see how the Committee ruled a breach of Clause 18.2.