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Novo Nordisk suspended from ABPI for two years

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Novo Nordisk suspended from ABPI for two years

Novo Nordisk has been suspended as a member of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry for two years due to “serious breaches” of the ABPI Code of Practice.

The move follows a complaint investigated by the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority. The PMCPA found Novo Nordisk to be in breach of the ABPI Code of Practice, including Clause 2 which deals with actions “likely to bring discredit on, or reduce confidence in, the pharmaceutical industry”.

The complainant alleged that Novo Nordisk had sponsored courses on weight management via  a LinkedIn post for health professionals, without making clear the company's involvement.

The complainant stated that the post linked to a training provider’s webpage, which was headed ‘Free Weight Management Course (webinar + PGD)’, and drew attention to one of the facets of the training which would cover GLP1-RA in the treatment of obesity.

This was the only treatment option mentioned and at the time Novo Nordisk was the only company that had a GLP-RA (Saxenda) available for the treatment of obesity.

The complainant stated that the PGD that was provided had a value and it was being given to individuals for their own personal benefit to run private clinics, which was bribing health professionals with an inducement to prescribe.

In response, Novo said that it had agreed to provide sponsorship to ensure that health professionals would receive training from a reputable provider, but that it had supported the activity at "arms length". The content of the training course had been created by and was owned by the training provider. The PGD for Saxenda had been prepared by another third party,

However, the PMCPA concluded that the provision of funding by Novo Nordisk for the PGD was clearly linked to the promotion of Saxenda. Furthermore, it said the cost of the provision of the PGD to prescribe Saxenda was given to individual health professionals. Such funding to individuals did not meet the requirements of the ABPI Code and was an inducement to prescribe, supply, administer and/or recommend Saxenda.

Novo Nordisk’s appeal on this point was unsuccessful.

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