Roche Fined for Doctors' Feast

Guillaume at the Sydney Opera House
Source: Guillaume restaurant at the Sydney Opera House

The global drug company, Roche has been fined $A75,000 for breaching a provision of the Australian drug industry's voluntary code of conduct which requires that meals given to doctors at company events should be "simple and modest". An investigation into the complaint - lodged by the Australian government drug regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration - followed the July 2006 revelations in the British Medical Journal and The Australian that the company had spent in the order of $A65,000 entertaining approximately 300 cancer specialists at the Guillaume restaurant in the Sydney Opera House. A majority of the members of a committee hosted by the peak drug industry lobby group, Medicines Australia, which oversees the code of conduct, found (pdf) that Roche's entertainment for doctors "brought the industry into disrepute." A minority of the committee "did not consider the hospitality provided ... to be excessive". Roche did not appeal against the decision.