Novartis, trade group at odds on Sandoz

Amazing what's going on behind closed doors at the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations. As IFPMA is concluding a probe of Sandoz, the generics arm of Novartis, over alleged ethical breaches in product labeling, Novartis has yanked Sandoz from the group.

Rather than participating in the group as a holding company, only Novartis Pharma--the firm's branded subsidiary--will hold membership. That will exclude Sandoz not only from the group, but also from its newly revamped code of conduct.

Ironic, really, because Novartis chief Daniel Vasella (photo) presided over IFPMA when the group formulated and adopted the sharper-toothed code of practice, which allows for tougher sanctions on companies that stray. Confirming the Sandoz withdrawal, Novartis PR chief Petra Laux told the Financial Times, "Sandoz is no longer a member of IFPMA and does not have to comply with its obligations."

Sandoz has its own internal code of conduct, Laux said. The complaint that triggered the IFPMA investigation was "without merit," she added, saying it was more logical for Sandoz to join the trade body aligned with its interests, the one designed for generics makers.

- read the FT story