An Independent on Sunday investigation has revealed that the bribery of doctors and other NHS healthcare staff with lavish hospitality and freebies by pharmaceutical companies may be reduced by the Serious Fraud Office.
"Big drug firms have spent millions of pounds on bankrolling events and trips for NHS staff, an Independent on Sunday investigation of trust records has revealed. The catalogue of freebies includes Pfizer providing hospitality to dozens of doctors attending a meeting at the five-star Gleneagles hotel resort in Scotland, and a dinner meeting between three Eli Lilly staff and two nurses at which 22 alcoholic drinks were consumed.
Healthcare staff, who influence how the £12bn annual NHS drugs budget is spent, insist they are not swayed by hospitality. However, it has emerged that big firms such as Sanofi-Aventis, Napp and Cephalon all feature in reports by the industry's watchdog, the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA), into alleged breaches in the rules on hospitality."I recommend reading the whole of this damning report, including the Comments beneath the report.