Hoffman Laroche, the drug company, has paid the US Department of Health and Human Sciences (DHHS) $450,000 (£300,000) to settle allegations of improper inducements to doctors to prescribe its drug Rocephin (ceftriaxone), an antibiotic.

It is an unusual settlement because the company did not have to admit any wrongdoing or liability, but is sufficient to avoid civil claims from government.

The action follows investigations from US government officials into a “grant in aid” scheme which offered physicians grants of between $500 and $2,500 to conduct studies on the drug. But, according to investigators, the company selected grant recipients on the basis of their ability

to recommend Hoffman Laroche products to other physicians. The Lancet, 24 September 1994.

Virtually all drug advertising fails to comply fully with international guidelines to protect the consumer. This astonishing conclusion has been reached by the International Organization of Consumers Unions after studying 183 drugs advertisements from 11 developed countries and comparing them with the guidelines set out by the European Union and World Health Organization. Of those, 98 per cent contravened some aspect of the guidelines.

!AThe Lancet, 17 September 1994.

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