Pharmaceutical Company Pays £60,000 Libel Damages to Trade Rival
There is nothing at all wrong with fierce competition – but a pharmaceutical company was accused of seriously over-stepping the mark by circulating an anonymous letter criticising a trade rival, and ended up having to pay £60,000 in libel damages.
The company was alleged to be the source of the letter, more than 400 copies of which were sent to NHS authorities and GP practices around the country. Amongst other things, it claimed that the rival company did not have product insurance in place, thus putting patients at risk, and was unfit to do business with.
Those allegations were wholly without foundation and, despite its denial that it was responsible for the letter, the company admitted liability in defamation and made an offer of amends to its competitor. In a settlement that was approved by the High Court, the company and its chief executive agreed to pay the libel damages and the rival company’s legal costs on the punitive indemnity basis.