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Roche to leave PhRMA and the ABPI

Roche plans to drop its membership of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association in the US

Roche plans to drop its membership of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA) in the US and join the Biotech Industry Organisation (BIO), of which its Genentech unit is already a member.

Separately, it has been reported that Roche is withdrawing from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI).  

Earlier this year, Roche acquired its long-time drug-developing partner Genentech, one of the world's leading biotechnology firms. Its alignment with BIO, a new lobbying force, and its departure from PhRMA, continues its evolution away from traditional pharma.

Spokesperson Darian Wilson stated: "Genentech and Roche believe BIO's purpose is closely aligned with the direction of the new company and can therefore represent the company's interest in Washington."

With regard to the ABPI, the British arm of the Swiss drugmaker resolved not to renew its membership after it was suspended for six months due to code breaches related to sales of Xenical (orlistat) to private clinics.

Roche says it will continue to comply with the ABPI's code of practice, but its decision removes the option for regulators to impose similar sanctions in the future.

The resignation has created tension within the ABPI, which receives a six-figure subscription from Roche and is disputing its right to leave. Broadly, it raises questions over the organisation's ability to regulate the industry at arm's length.

ABPI President Chris Brinsmead stated that Roche is "thinking through the situation. There is ongoing dialogue. Technically it is still a member."

30th June 2009

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