Head rolls at Fisons over bribe claim

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FISONS has sacked a member of its West Midlands sales team following an investigation by the drug company into allegations that its employees tried to bribe general practitioners to prescribe some of its products. A second employee has been disciplined.

Fisons launched an inquiry into the conduct of its seven-strong West Midlands sales force earlier this month following allegations of malpractice.

The company admitted yesterday that the investigation had confirmed that four doctors had been offered unauthorised 'financial inducements' to prescribe Fisons drugs to new patients.

A company spokesperson said the financial inducements varied from doctor to doctor, but were 'small' in each case, and no doctor had actually received any payment as a result.

Nevertheless, Fisons said it took such malpractice 'very seriously' and had disciplined two staff as a result.

However, Rick Tiller, the West Midlands area sales manager who had been suspended by the group, was cleared by the inquiry and has been reinstated.

Offering financial rewards to doctors is also a breach of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry's code of practice. The Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority, which is responsible for administering the ABPI code, is conducting its own investigation into the Fisons affair.

It is also looking into allegations made against Glaxo, Britain's largest drug company, which two weeks ago sacked five employees for 'irregularities' in relation to the provision of lavish hospitality to doctors.

However, Fisons said that claims that its staff had also offered excessive hospitality to doctors in breach of the industry code had not been substantiated by its inquiry.