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Novo Nordisk suspended from ABPI over ‘serious’ code of practice breaches

This is only the eighth time in the past 40 years that ABPI has issued such a significant sanction

Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk has been suspended from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) due to what the organisation describes as ‘serious breaches’ of its code of practice.

The decision comes after the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA) – a self-regulatory body run by ABPI – investigated a complaint alleging that the drugmaker had sponsored courses on weight management on LinkedIn without making the company's involvement clear.

ABPI’s board concluded that the actions were ‘likely to bring discredit on, or reduce confidence in, the pharmaceutical industry’, breaching clause two of its code of practice.

This is only the eighth occasion in the past 40 years that ABPI has issued such a significant sanction.

Novo Nordisk will continue to be subject to the organisation’s code and the jurisdiction of the PMCPA, but will no longer be able to access the wider benefits of ABPI membership.

The company will also be subject to further PMCPA audits in late 2023 and 2024, which will need to show a ‘clear, significant and then sustained improvement to industry standards’ in order for ABPI to consider allowing it to resume full engagement at the end of the two-year suspension.

The board has also said that Novo Nordisk must submit a quarterly update giving the company’s views on the progress being made for its improvement plan.

Susan Rienow, president-elect, ABPI, said: “The ABPI board has carefully considered the PMCPA’s case report into Novo Nordisk and the subsequent audit of their compliance procedures.

“The board expressed significant concern about Novo Nordisk’s compliance activities and the very serious issues identified. As a result, the ABPI board has taken the decision to suspend Novo Nordisk from ABPI membership.

“Such measures are never taken lightly, but will ensure a rapid return to industry compliance standards as set out in the ABPI code of practice.”

The suspension comes just two days after Novo Nordisk said that it will be significantly lowering the US list prices for several of its insulin products, echoing a similar series of price cuts from Eli Lilly last month.

The changes, which follow insulin manufacturers coming under fire over the rising cost of their products, will come into effect in January 2024 and include a 75% reduction to the list price of the company’s NovoLog insulin and a 65% reduction for Novolin and Levemir.

Article by
Emily Kimber

16th March 2023

From: Regulatory



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