U.K. minders slap Roche for a too-hearty party

Warning to Roche ($RHHBY) executives--and other pharma types, for that matter. Don't drink too much at a medical conference. And don't, under any circumstances, jump onstage to dance. Your peers are watching, and they will tattle.

As Pharmafile reports, the U.K. code-of-practice authority censured Roche after receiving a complaint about some senior employees' behavior at a conference. The anonymous tipster said the staffers bought "shots of varying colors" that "flowed like hot lava, unstoppably." One exec reportedly took the stage to dance and "made a buffoon of himself" before bouncers threw him out. U.K. doctors had joined the party, and Roche's people were plying them with alcohol, too, the complainant said.

The PMCPA duly investigated this complaint, and Roche handed over its bar receipts. Plenty of drinks were listed, but no shots--and the PMCPA couldn't determine who, exactly, had consumed them. Some doctors had attended a dinner with the Roche employees earlier in the evening, but there was no evidence that the physicians went to the bar, too.

The PMCPA decided Roche had breached one clause of the industry association's code of practice that requires "high standards" to be maintained "at all times." Apparently, "all times" includes drinking sessions at bars. The company did not, however, "bring discredit" to the industry, the authority said.

Nor did it break the rules of hospitality, which govern pharma companies' interactions with doctors and other providers. That would have been the more serious breach. Still, the authority scolded the Roche employees, who should be "mindful of the impression created by their behavior whenever they were on company business," Pharmafile notes. Consider it an object lesson for conference party-going.

- see the statement from PMCPA
- read the Pharmafile piece