Novo Nordisk A/S Shareholder Action

IMF Litigation Funding Services Limited (IMF) is funding a shareholder action for shareholders of Novo Nordisk A/S (Novo), to be led by Danish litigation law firm NJORD Law.

The action will seek compensation for institutional shareholders who acquired shares in Novo in the period 3 February 2015 to 2 February 2017 inclusive (the Relevant Period) and lost millions of euros in value as a result of perceived errors and omissions committed by Novo’s management and Novo’s failure to disclose to the market the circumstances and magnitude of pricing information in relation to the marketing and sale of insulin products.

Background

Novo is a Danish healthcare company, listed on the Copenhagen stock exchange, which engages in the discovery, development, manufacture, and marketing of pharmaceutical products worldwide but which has a specific focus on insulin. Novo is a world leader in diabetes care (81% of Novo’s 2017 sales relates to diabetes care) and, according to its 2017 Annual Report, it has a 47% market share of the total insulin market.

The action will assert that a series of material misstatements and omissions were made about Novo’s sales of its core insulin drugs in the USA. The central allegation is that Novo attributed its impressive revenue, operating profit growth, and actual and forecasted sales growth in the US insulin market to its innovation and product specific qualities (particularly with regard to a product called Tresiba), when in fact they were the result of a scheme whereby Novo paid increasingly large rebates to the pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) in exchange for placement on their formularies.

Cause of Action

Market manipulation is prohibited (Article 15 of the Market Abuse Regulation). Inter alia, it comprises the following:

Article 12 (1) (c): Disseminating information through the media, including the internet, or by any other means, which gives, or is likely to give, false or misleading signals as to the supply of, demand for, or price of, a financial instrument, [..], including the dissemination of rumours, where the person who made the dissemination knew, or ought to have known, that the information was false or misleading.

In broad terms, the advice under Danish law is that Novo appears to have misled investors by disseminating misstatements and omissions in relation to the following main categories:

  1. whether Novo’s growth was sustainable;
  2. Novo’s denial that its products were subject to the pricing pressure on the US insulin market; and
  3. the importance of the size of the rebates provided by Novo to PBMs for the sales volume of Novo’s products.

Current stage of case

The Novo shareholder action was filed on 2 August 2019 by NJORD Law in Denmark. Registrations to participate in the Novo Nordisk shareholder action are now closed, as there is a fixed limitation date of 5 August 2019. The case has since become statute barred, and it is no longer possible to participate in the Novo Nordisk shareholder action being funded by IMF.