Roche ‘walks away’ from ABPI

Roche has decided not to review its membership of the ABPI in a controversial move that has led analysts to question the effectiveness of the UK’s regulation system.

The company says its decision does not alter its commitment to working within the Code of Practice and, to reiterate this, has recently strengthened its internal compliance procedures.

Roche was suspended from the Association in 2008 after making payments to clinics that prescribed its obesity drug Xenical.

In a statement, Roche said: “Our time away from the ABPI has enabled us to reflect upon the nature of this relationship and consideration of mutual needs for the future. We have concluded that this is something we need to review further and for that reason, we have decided not to re-join the ABPI for the time being.”

The ABPI receives a six-figure annual subscription from Roche and it is rumoured that the Association is disputing the company’s right to leave. President Chris Brinsmead told the Financial Times: “Roche is thinking through the situation. There is an ongoing dialogue. Technically it is still a member. The ABPI doesn’t want to see any member walk away. A unified front makes sense.”

Roche has also announced plans to drop its membership of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA) in the US. Following its acquisition of biotech company Genentech, it has suggested that membership of the Biotech Industry Organisation (BIO) is a more logical choice.

US spokesperson Darian Wilson said: “Genentech and Roche believe BIO’s purpose is closely aligned with the direction of the new company and can therefore represent the company’s interest in Weshington.”