The Boston Globe reported that four former executives of Serono Inc, a US unit of Serono SA, were indicted by the US justice department for bribery and conspiracy. The government charged that the executives offered doctors trips to a medical conference in Cannes, France in return for prescribing a certain amount of the drug Serostim. The defendents claim that they were employing sales tactics commonly used at the time, and were only sending doctors to a legitimate medical conference on AIDS.
The issue seems to be whether the travel to a relatively exotic convention site was offered as a quid pro quo for prescribing the drug. Were this to be proven, it would represent yet another way in which physicians' professionalism has been externally threatened.
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