Novartis, Pfizer, Otsuka and Novo breach the ABPI Code

Judge's gavel

The Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA) has ruled that Novartis, Pfizer, Otsuka and Novo Nordisk have breached the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) Code of Practice.

The companies were judged to have “brought discredit upon”, and “reduced confidence in”, the pharmaceutical industry.

Novartis was found guilty of failing to update and recertify two documents hosted on a Novartis website to include up-to-date Entresto (sacubitril/valsartan) prescribing information.

The company was reprimanded due to the length of time one of the documents had been available with out-of-date prescribing information, and because the out-of-date prescribing information had the potential to impact patient safety.

Pfizer was ruled in breach of the Code for promoting an unlicensed vaccine, including to members of the public on Twitter (now X).

Otsuka’s reproof related to a previous 2015 case, as it reportedly failed to disclose relevant information, and because interviewees had not been given the opportunity to agree and sign the witness statements produced as a record of their interviews and submitted to the PMCPA.

Meanwhile, Novo Nordisk was found in breach of both the 2019 and 2021 Code and publicly reprimanded for failing to disclose transfers of value of approximately £7.8 ($9.9) million, relating to over 150 different bodies, across a three-year period (2020-2022) selected as part of its voluntary admission.

The rules broken included failing to publicly disclose details of the fees paid to consultants in the UK for certain services rendered by them and failing to make publicly available a list of patient organisations to which it provides support.

The case reports and the public reprimand are available at

Diana Spencer, Senior Digital Content Editor, DDW

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