AUTH/3653/5/22 - Eli Lilly v Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk position statement regarding supplies of certain Lilly medicines for diabetes

  • Received
    31 May 2022
  • Case number
  • Applicable Code year
  • Completed
    05 April 2023
  • No breach Clause(s)
  • Breach Clause(s)
  • Sanctions applied
    Undertaking received
  • Additional sanctions
  • Appeal
    No appeal

Case Summary

This case was in relation to promotional emails sent by Novo Nordisk Ltd to health professionals regarding the available supply of GLP-1 Receptor Agonists (GLP-1RAs).

The Panel ruled a breach of the following Clause of the 2021 Code as it considered that including the statement ‘Novo Nordisk’s priority is maintaining supply of treatment to support adults living with type 2 diabetes’ followed by ‘We can reassure you as an HCP, that we have supply available of all doses of both Ozempic® ▼ (once-weekly semaglutide) and RYBELSUS® ▼ (semaglutide tablets), should you be seeking a GLP-1 RA to prescribe for adults with type 2 diabetes at this time’ directly below reference to Eli Lilly having supply issues was such that it implied that maintaining supply of treatment was not a priority for Eli Lilly and thus was disparaging towards Eli Lilly:

Breach of Clause 6.6

Disparaging another company

The Panel ruled no breach of the following Clauses of the 2021 Code based on the complainant’s allegations because it did not consider that the emails misled the reader regarding the content of the referenced email from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to Novo Nordisk in relation to the timeframe of the stock outage of Lilly’s product or misrepresented the DHSC’s intentions by not making clear that switching to a Novo Nordisk GLP-1 RA was not the preferred option, nor did the Panel consider that the emails were in conflict with DHSC guidance with regards to when switching to an alternative GLP‐1 RA should be considered, nor that referring to Rybelsus and not Bydureon and Victoza or continuing to reference a DHSC email rather than the official DHSC Medicine Supply Notification (MSN) was inappropriate and misleading as alleged:

No Breach of Clause 2

Requirement that activities or material must not bring discredit upon, or reduce confidence in, the pharmaceutical industry

No Breach of Clause 5.1

Requirement to maintain high standards

This summary is not intended to be read in isolation.
For full details, please see the full case report below.