Posted by: polisci May 15, 2024
Pfizer says they are sorry
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According to the Preskription Medicines Code of Practice Authority, Pfizer promoted unlicensed medicines and violated a total of five regulatory codes. 

The pharmaceutical giant has been accused of "bringing discredit" to the industry after employees promoted the COVID-19 vaccine across social media during the height of the pandemic. 

Per Biopharma-reporter, medical director of Pfizer Dr. Berkley Phillips retweeted a post on Twitter, now known as X, stating: "Our vaccine candidate is 95% effective in preventing COVID and 94% effective in people over 65 years old." 

"We will file all of our data with health authorities within days. Thank you to every volunteer in our trial, and to all who are tirelessly fighting this pandemic." Per the medical news outlet, fellow UK employees retweeted the reported misleading post.

The complaint against Pfizer cites the "promotional use of Twitter." The panel ruled a "breach" for the following clauses of the 2019 code, including bringing discredit to the pharmaceutical industry, promoting unlicensed medicine, making a misleading claim, not listing adverse effects, and failing to maintain high standards. 

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"The complainant alleged the tweet included relative efficacy rates without any information about absolute efficacy rates and that no safety data or safety information was provided, and therefore that Pfizer had misleadingly and illegally promoted its COVID-19 vaccine," the case summary alleged. 

According to Bio-Pharma Reporter, the misjudged tweets cost Pfizer £34,800, or $43,698.36 in administrative costs. In the end, Dr. Phillips claimed the tweet was "accidental and unintentional."

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Dr. Ila Bhatia told Bio-Pharma that the unrefined behavior on their behalf was "less than ideal," however noted that it's more important that the information was never shared from the pharma giant's official handles. 

"Such events lead to poor public perception, not just for the company and its brand but also the industry as a whole," she told the medical news outlet.

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Bio-Pharma obtained a statement from a spokesman of Pfizer, claiming the company is "deeply sorry" and "fully recognizes and accepts" the issues highlighted by the PMCPA ruling.

On the other hand, Pfizer claimed it took its commitment to the code extremely seriously and had conducted a thorough investigation. Per the website, the case was received February 2023 and was marked completed as of March 1. 

See more on the full report regarding Complaint V. Pfizer here

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