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GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has fallen foul of three of the codes of conduct laid down by The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), by off-label promoting its platelet drug Revolade.

The breaking of ABPI’s codes was reported by an anonymous GSK employee who said a company rep was promoting the drug for a license it does not hold in an email and in a subsequent meetings.

The rep was promoting the unlicensed use of Revolade for myeloid fibrosis to an NHS consultant, which it is not licensed for.

Revolade is licensed for immune (idiopathic) thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP).

The three ABPI codes the GSK rep broke were clause 3.2, which states that companies cannot market a drug outside of its licence; 15.2, which says that reps must keep ethical standards and comply with the Code; and 9.1, which states that pharma firms must maintain high standards.

According to Pharma Times Online, an email sent about the drug did not expressly refer to Revolade but was part of a series of communications about it.

The email read; "Request for an appointment re an [individual funding request] submission for a patient with Myeloid Firosis [sic]".

The rep defended their actions by saying the email heading could have been misconstrued.

However Pharma Times Online has reported that the PMCPA, which polices the Code, said the rep "should have been mindful of the impression given by the subject matter of the email."

GSK was not found guilty of other accusations from the whistleblower regarding staff training on Seretide, a lung drug, and Parkinson’s disease treatment ReQuip XL.

The drug company was earlier this year found guilty of promoting several drugs, including antidepressant Wellbutrin and lung drug Advair, off-label in the US.

Image: This is not the first time GSK has been found guilty of off-label promotion of its drugs. Photo: Courtesy of GSK.