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In an embarrassing episode for AbbVie, the company was reprimanded by a U.K. pharmaceutical industry trade group for appearing to condone “strategic loitering” by one of its sales reps, who visited a hospital in hopes of encountering numerous health care providers.

The incident raised questions about the extent to which the company sufficiently addressed the issue. And the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority — the self-regulating arm of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry — decided that AbbVie failed to maintain high standards expected of companies and breached the industry code of conduct.


The matter came to light when an unnamed AbbVie employee alerted the trade group to a May 2021 e-mail exchange between the sales rep and a sales manager. The sales rep outlined a seemingly legitimate rationale for the visit — following up an educational event with nurses — how easy it was to gain access, and how to approach hospital staff by “strategic loitering” and “slow walking” around the building.

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