Why is Novo taking the fifth?
For the past week Diabetic Investor has been asking Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO) a very simple and straightforward question; “How much did the company pay/donate to the Cleveland Clinic for the work Dr. Nissen has done for their Victoza cardiovascular trial?” While this may be a simple question, getting it answered has not been easy. Despite repeated attempts all Diabetic Investor is getting is silence.
This seems a bit odd as Diabetic Investor is not claiming that Novo or Dr. Nissen has done anything improper or illegal. Nor are we asserting that Novo or Dr. Nissen unduly influenced the FDA in any way over their recent decision on Bydureon. All we wanted to know is how much did they company pay/donate to the Cleveland Clinic.
According to a spokesperson at the Cleveland Clinic they will disclose this information when they file their 2010 tax returns. Keep in mind that the Cleveland Clinic is a not for profit entity and unlike Novo which is publicly traded company disclosure requirements are different.
Given the furor over payments made to physicians and by extension the institutions they work for, one just might think that Novo would come clean here. Just what is the company trying to hide? Diabetic Investor has no problem with the company compensating Dr. Nissen for his work and we have no problem that Dr. Nissen prefers these payments be made to the Cleveland Clinic, after all he does work for the clinic and payments such as these helps the clinic do good work.
For many years Diabetic Investor held Novo Nordisk apart from the diabetes community as they were the clear leader in diabetes. We’re not sure what’s happened at the company but Novo is no longer setting the standard for everyone else to follow. Their silence on this issue is just another example that the company has strayed from their mission.
While we hope this never happens, Diabetic Investor can only imagine the outrage if one of Novo’s products was unnecessarily delayed at the FDA and a physician with ties to the FDA was receiving compensation from a company with product that the Novo product would be competing against. We’re pretty sure that Novo would like to know just how much money this physician received and would raise hell if that company was unwilling to disclose this type of information.
As Gandhi once noted; “Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.”