The Medicines Australia Code of Conduct guides the promotion of prescription products by pharmaceutical companies.1 The 19th edition of the Code of Conduct came into effect in March 2020. Throughout the year Medicines Australia publishes reports, from its Code of Conduct Committee, on the successful complaints about advertising and other promotional activities.

In 2020–21 the Code of Conduct Committee finalised four complaints (see Table).2,3 These were dealt with under the 18th and 19th editions of the Code of Conduct.1 All the complaints were made by pharmaceutical companies. Details of each complaint are available on the Medicines Australia website.2,3

Table - Breaches of the Code of Conduct July 2020 – June 2021


Brand (generic) name

Material or activity


Boehringer Ingelheim/Eli Lilly Australia Alliance*

Jardiance (empagliflozin)

Presentations to meetings of healthcare professionals

Withdraw presentation, corrective letter, $150,000 fine


Beovu (brolucizumab)

Promotional material

Cease using material, corrective letter, $200,000 fine. Fine confirmed on appeal

AstraZeneca †

Forxiga (dapagliflozin propanediol monohydrate)

Xigduo XR (dapagliflozin propanediol monohydrate/ metformin hydrochloride)

Qtern (saxagliptin/dapafliglozin)

Promotional material

Withdraw material, corrective letter, $100,000 fine

AbbVie ‡

Rinvoq (upadacitinib)

Promotional material

Cease and withdraw material, $125,000 fine. Fine upheld on appeal

* Complaint heard under 18th edition of the code

† Complaint heard under 19th edition of the code

‡ Complaint heard under 18th and 19th editions of the code