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Novo subpoenaed over marketing practices

Novo Nordisk has been ordered to turn over documents concerning potential criminal offences in the marketing and promotion of several diabetes products

Novo Nordisk has received a subpoena from the office of the US Attorney for the District of Massachusetts instructing the company to turn over documents related to an investigation of potential criminal offences in its marketing and promotion of its insulin products NovoLog and Levemir, as well as its diabetes drug Victoza (liraglutide).

The Danish company said it would cooperate with the investigation. "At this time, Novo Nordisk cannot determine or predict the outcome of this matter or assess the consequences thereof. In addition, the company cannot predict how long the investigation will take or when it will be able to provide additional information," the company said in a statement.

Novo Nordisk faced criticism in the UK last year when The Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority, a drug industry watchdog, said the company promoted Victoza before it was approved and misrepresented the drug's risk-benefit profile.

The once-daily product was approved in Europe in July 2009 and in the US in late January 2010 for the treatment of adults with type 2 diabetes.  According to Novo Nordisk, the drug differs from many marketed diabetes therapies in that it does not promote weight gain and is in fact associated with weight loss in many patients.

17th February 2011

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