Free Trip Drug Zones: Paris and Budapest

The world's third largest drug company, Sanofi-Aventis, sponsored a tour to Budapest and Paris for a "parliamentary and stakeholder working group" including representatives from British patient groups. The tour included "optional attendance" at lectures at the European Association of Cancer Research conference in Budapest and a presentation in Paris on cancer drugs used in France but not yet approved in Britain. The head of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, Mike Unger, defended participation in the trip: "If we paid, then it would come out of the charity's fund for research, which would be very wrong." The company's communications director, Cressida Ward, described the junket as "a purely educational trip ... I can't see the harm in this."