WASHINGTON, D.C. — Danish drug maker Novo Nordisk has reportedly agreed to pay $58.7 million to resolve a U.S. Justice Department probe of the company’s allegedly illegal marketing of its diabetes drugs, including its top seller Victoza.
According to court filings, Novo Nordisk agreed to resolve eight lawsuits accusing the Danish drug maker of downplaying warnings for Victoza and misleading doctors by disguising salespeople as medical educators and paying kickbacks to persuade doctors to prescribe its medicines, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.
Douglas Langa, head of Novo Nordisk’s North America operations, told the Associated Press late Tuesday that the Copenhagen-based company denies “any wrongdoing” but was pleased with the case’s resolution.
The Department of Justice said the settlement resolved allegations that Novo Nordisk failed to comply with the FDA-mandated Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy for its Type II diabetes medication.
According to the AP, the Department of Justice said “Novo Nordisk sales representatives gave information to physicians that created the false or misleading impression” that the FDA-mandated warning “was erroneous, irrelevant, or unimportant.”
The “actions unnecessarily put vulnerable patients at risk,” said Channing D. Phillips, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. “We have sent a strong signal to the drug industry today.”
The company said in a statement that it takes seriously its responsibility to communicate safety and clinical benefits of its medicines. Victoza, an injection that stimulates the natural production of insulin, is the company’s biggest-selling drug and one of its fastest-growing products.
“While we do not agree with the U.S. government’s legal conclusions and deny any wrongdoing, we’re pleased to have negotiated a resolution that allows the company to return its full attention to developing medicines that help improve the lives of patients,” said Doug Langa, Novo Nordisk’s head of North America operations.
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