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Novo cleared in complaints case

Published on 05/06/14 at 10:33am
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Novo Nordisk has been cleared completely of any wrongdoing over a complaint about three of its employees in relation to allegedly disparaging remarks. 

The PMCPA, which enforces the ABPI Code of Practice, said that the complaint had not satisfied the burden of proof required and therefore exonerated the company on three counts.

The complainant was an NHS associate director of commissioning, who previously worked for a company providing services to pharma companies working with Novo Nordisk in diabetes. 

He told the PMCPA that he had left his previous position after six months because of the ‘offensive behaviour’ of three named staff at Novo Nordisk. 

The complainant stated that two NHS diabetes specialist nurses said the Novo Nordisk employees told them he was dismissed from his role “because a diabetes consultant and his secretary had each made a serious complaint about him, and he had breached an internal standard operating procedure (SOP) regarding payment for a meeting”. 

Novo Nordisk agreed that no such complaint had been made and the complainant insisted that the “defamatory comments were entirely false and a totally unacceptable breach of the Code”. 

Clause 8.2 of the Code clearly states: “The health professions and the clinical and scientific opinions of health professionals must not be disparaged,” while 9.1 deals with the high standards which must be maintained by pharma companies at all times.

Specifically, 15.2 highlights that company representatives must at all times maintain a high standard of ethical conduct in the discharge of their duties and comply with all relevant aspects of the Code. 

However, the PMCPA said, the complainant had not identified the nurses in question nor provided any evidence to demonstrate that the comments had been made to them.  

The signed statements submitted by Novo Nordisk for two of the three named employees each denied that they had notified NHS diabetes nurses that the complainant had been dismissed. 

Neither statement referred to a complaint about his conduct or a breach of an SOP. The PMCPA’s conclusion was that there were no breaches of the Code on the three counts because the complainant had not established his case on the balance of probabilities. 

Adam Hill

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