The company behind the slimming jab Wegovy has been suspended from the UK’s pharmaceutical trade association after a row over sponsored weight-loss courses that promoted its medicines.
The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) said an extensive investigation by the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA) found Novo Nordisk to be in breach of the ABPI code of practice.
The ABPI said this included a clause relating to actions “likely to bring discredit on, or reduce confidence in, the pharmaceutical industry”.
As a result the Danish firm has been suspended from the ABPI for two years, with a return to full membership dependent on further audits in late 2023 and 2024 that will need to show significant and sustained improvement to industry standards. Patients will still be able to access available drugs produced by Novo Nordisk, such as Saxenda.
The move is notable not only because Novo Nordisk has received heavy media attention in recent weeks over the approval of Wegovy for use in the NHS, but because the ABPI’s president until last month was Pinder Sahota, the general manager and corporate vice-president of Novo Nordisk UK.
Sahota stepped down from his role at the ABPI in February to prevent the row “becoming a distraction from the vital work of the ABPI”.
According to an interim report from the ABPI’s code of practice appeal board, released before the results of the PMCPA investigation, the row revolves around Novo Nordisk’s sponsorship of a free weight management course, first seen on LinkedIn, which featured another of its weight-loss jabs called Saxenda, also known as liraglutide.
A key concern was that Novo Nordisk did not make clear that it had paid for the courses, or that they wereRead more on theguardian.com