Product support claims
Smith & Nephew Medical Ltd complained that Johnson & Johnson Medical Ltd had not provided information to support claims made for their product ‘Promogran’ as required by Clause 3.4 of the Code. This, they felt, indicated that Johnson & Johnson Medical Ltd were unable to substantiate the claims made for the product as required by Clause 3.6. Smith & Nephew Healthcare Ltd considered this was in breach of Clause 2.1 of the Code of Practice.
The panel examined in detail all the correspondence between the two companies on the subject. They noted that whilst Johnson & Johnson Medical Ltd had provided references to information sources for some of the claims promptly, other information was said to be available in a publication “next year” and then “within the next few months”.
After much discussion the panel concluded that Johnson & Johnson Medical Ltd had complied strictly to the letter of Clause 3.4 of the Code in that they had indicated when the information would be published and therefore available to Smith & Nephew Healthcare Ltd. However, the panel wished it to be recorded that they felt that Johnson & Johnson Medical Ltd had not acted within the spirit of the Code by referencing the publication date when they must have had this data available prior to publication. The panel pointed out that in Clause 3.4 provision of information is not restricted to that published in journals. They considered that when the Johnson & Johnson Medical Ltd representative made claims for the product in public, the company would have been able to substantiate these claims at that time.
The panel also considered that on the basis of information provided, they had no reason to doubt that Johnson & Johnson Medical Ltd would be able to substantiate the claims made for the product and hence no breach of Clause 3.6 had occurred.
As a result of their findings in respect of Clauses 3.4 and 3.6 the panel also concluded that Johnson & Johnson Medical Ltd were not in breach of Clause 2.1 of the Code of Practice in the context of this activity.
Complaint adjudicated on 9 May 2002