I’m a little late addressing this one. And a lot disappointed! I always had such a positive impression of Novo Nordisk as this sort of squeaky-clean new generation Scandinavian insulin powerhouse. But it seems they’ve got their mitts dirty playing in the Pharma Big Leagues: they apparently paid off at least one Rite Aid pharmacist to push their insulin products on patients and doctors, in some cases without even notifying the patient of the prescription change.
According to the NYT, the company also paid doctors’ assistants when prescriptions were switched, citing two former sales representatives as sources. Ughh!
Here’s a company that enjoys a vibrant image, largely through its active outreach and marketing campaigns. And until now, the contrast with more the established, “Old School” Eli Lilly helped make Novo look like a younger, more caring underdog. Their presence was fun.
As D-industry analyst Kelly Close points out, Novo invariably has the most lavish vendor displays at diabetes’ conventions, and it recently sponsored a book about children with diabetes. “But it’s possible Novo benefited from more than creative marketing. Indeed the specter of possible illegal or unethical activity casts a shadow over the company at a time when authorities are already scrutinizing drug and medical device companies that pay consulting fees to doctors. The authorities are also trying to crack down on any activity that might compromise patient safety for profits.”
On Feb. 6, the company published a response to the NYT article, stating:
“The information reported in The New York Times on Saturday, January 28, 2006, is not new to us, but nonetheless is concerning. For legal reasons we cannot provide details, other than saying that disciplinary action has been taken against a small number of employees who were found to be in violation of our company policies… Where necessary, we will review our policies and practices to ensure such conduct does not reoccur.”
Now personally, I have tried both Humalog and Novolog, and didn’t see a speck of difference in my regimen or BG results. The two insulins seem interchangeable to me. I just happen to like the Novo injection pens much better (I actually need their Junior Pen because it’s the only one providing half-unit doses). And I always had a warm, fuzzy feeling about the company. They seem so dynamic, and gave the impression of really caring about patients.
Now that sentiment is all blown to hell! Makes me melancholy, as in:
I don’t know where I’m going
But, I sure know where I’ve been
Hanging on the promises
In songs of yesterday
An’ I’ve made up my mind,
I ain’t wasting no more time
But, here I go again
Here I go again … on my own again