The drug giant behind weight loss injections newly approved for NHS use spent millions in just three years on an “orchestrated PR campaign” to boost its UK influence.
As part of its strategy, Novo Nordisk paid £21.7m to health organisations and professionals who in some cases went on to praise the treatment without always making clear their links to the firm, an Observer investigation has found.
Among the vocal champions of the Wegovy jabs was a clinical expert who gave evidence to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and others who publicly praised the so-called “skinny jabs” as a “gamechanger”.
The revelations come as the Danish drug giant is investigated by the UK’s pharmaceutical watchdog after it was found to have breached the industry code seven times in relation to a “disguised promotional campaign” of another of its weight loss drugs via online webinars for healthcare professionals.
Prof Allyson Pollock, professor of public health at Newcastle University, said Novo’s campaign was “not unusual” in the drugs industry and called for measures to improve trust. “The public really aren’t being made aware enough about the potential for bias and over-claiming,” she said.
Source: The Guardian, 12 March 2023
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