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Four large drugmakers — Novartis, Pfizer, Novo Nordisk, and Otsuka Pharmaceutical — were scolded by a U.K. industry trade group for violating a voluntary code that is designed to bolster marketing practices. In each case, the companies were chastised for discrediting — and reducing confidence in — the industry, while Novo Nordisk was singled out for a public reprimand.

The most serious breach involved Novo Nordisk, which voluntarily admitted its failure to disclose approximately $10 million that was provided to more than 150 organizations and individuals — including health care providers and institutions, patient groups and members of the public, including journalists — between 2020 and 2022.


The company acknowledged “these were significant omissions and the situation fell far short of the required standards for disclosure,” according to a report issued by the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority, which is a self-regulatory body overseen by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry. In all, Novo Nordisk breached more than a dozen voluntary codes.

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