Drug Company Reps Take Doctors To The Dogs, Lap-Dancing & Tennis

In late January a comedian hosting the UK Pharmaceutical Marketing Society's Annual Advertising Awards ceremony joked that "twenty years ago it was all lap dancing and champagne for the doctors. These days you're lucky if you can give them a three-star hotel and a f***ing biro." Not so, it seems. Last Friday the British drug industry lobby group, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) announced that it had suspended Abbott Laboratories from membership for six months for breaching its self-regulatory marketing code. ABPI's media release didn't specify what activities had been complained about. However, buried in a 112-page report (pdf) it was revealed that in 2004 company representatives had taken dozens of hospital doctors greyhound racing, a senior manager had taken a health professional to a lap-dancing club and a senior manager provided senior hospital consultants with centre court tickets to watch tennis at Wimbledon.