Pharmaceutical Company Novo Nordisk Faces Review of Australian Sponsored Content
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has announced that it will review the sponsored content of Novo Nordisk, a pharmaceutical company, in Australia. The TGA, which regulates the advertising of therapeutic goods, stated that posts that do not promote prescription medicine or any therapeutic good are not subject to advertising laws. However, hyperlinks included in the posts will be considered when assessing whether the advertising of a therapeutic good has occurred.
This announcement comes after Google pulled multiple sponsored search results in March from websites claiming to sell the drug without a prescription. Novo Nordisk has stated that it complies with the Medicines Australia Code of Conduct, TGA regulations, and other regulatory obligations. The company also clarified that it does not support off-label use of its products, such as prescribing Ozempic for weight loss in Australia.
Novo Nordisk emphasized its commitment to using its clinical expertise and available resources to support the broader healthcare community in addressing the obesity challenge. The company sees itself as a partner in a collaborative solution to help Australians living with overweight and obesity.
However, concerns have been raised by researchers and doctors regarding pharmaceutical-funded consumer health campaigns. Dr. Nicole Higgins, president of the Royal Australian College of GPs, stated that the TGA has rules in place to prohibit the advertising of prescription drugs for a reason, and the “disease awareness advertising” by Novo Nordisk seems to be pushing the boundaries. Professor Tim Gill, research programs director at the Boden Institute, also expressed skepticism about the usefulness of the campaign for the general public.
Gill compared Novo Nordisk’s messaging to running a campaign claiming that skin cancer risk is largely the result of genetics, describing it as unhelpful. He mentioned that while it is not uncommon for large corporations, including drug companies, to provide information about social issues, their motives can be questionable.
Meanwhile, the TGA has requested doctors to continue restricting prescriptions of Ozempic to people with type 2 diabetes due to high levels of predicted demand for the drug in the upcoming year.
The review of Novo Nordisk’s sponsored content reflects the ongoing scrutiny within the pharmaceutical industry regarding the promotion and advertising of therapeutic goods. As discussions and investigations continue, it remains essential for regulatory bodies to ensure that the public’s health and safety are not compromised, while allowing for informative and responsible communication within the field.