The UK’s regulatory body overseeing drug marketing has strongly criticized Croma Pharma for selecting a luxurious venue associated with “The Leading Hotels of The World” for the launch of a drug symposium. The regulatory authority concluded that this choice of a high-end, Monaco-based location for the event tarnished the reputation of the pharmaceutical industry.
The issue came to light when an anonymous individual filed a complaint with the UK Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA). The complainant alleged that Croma Pharma had organized the launch symposium for Letybo, a competitor to Botox, in the ballroom of a prestigious five-star venue. Notably, a hotel sign indicated that the event would feature “Cocktails, meeting, and dinner,” and attendees shared their experiences under the hashtag #fashionevent, highlighting the mix of fashion and science on Instagram.
Croma Pharma defended its actions, asserting that the April 2022 event delivered “90 minutes of high-quality scientific and pertinent content.” They further argued that the chosen hotel was the only available option capable of accommodating the required meeting space within the designated location. Croma clarified to the PMCPA that they had booked the most basic room at the hotel and denied serving any cocktails at the event.
According to Croma, the meal expenses fell within the limit of 75 pounds sterling ($91) plus tax. While Croma provided the PMCPA with a partially redacted invoice, the panel overseeing the investigation noted a “lack of transparency regarding financial expenditures.” Ultimately, the PMCPA concluded that regardless of the amount spent by Croma, the general perception was that hospitality, including the venue, appeared to overshadow the primary purpose of the event. In the PMCPA’s report, it was stated, “The choice of the luxurious five-star Monaco-based venue was inappropriate, and it seemed that attendees might have been drawn by factors other than the scientific content. This impression was further compounded by the unfavorable perception created by the event signage and references to ‘cocktails.’
Although the PMCPA report does not mention the hotel by name, a social media post related to the introduction of Letybo at an April 2022 event in Monaco identified Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo as the venue. This hotel, belonging to “The Leading Hotels of The World” collection, offers guests an immersive experience in the glamorous scene, with access to a private beach, golf course, tennis courts, and a sprawling 71,000-square-foot wellness center.