Novo Nordisk, a major player in the pharmaceutical industry, recently reached settlements in lawsuits against two defendants: Cosmetic Laser Professionals Med Spa in Miami and Nuvida Rx Weight Loss, a clinic based in Tallahassee. These settlements mark the first resolutions among a group of 12 defendants, which include spas, clinics, and compounding pharmacies, targeted by Novo Nordisk over similar allegations.
Details regarding the terms of these settlements have not been disclosed by Novo Nordisk. However, it is known that these lawsuits revolve around accusations of unauthorized usage of Novo Nordisk’s trademarks to promote compounded drugs. Compounded drugs are custom-made medications created by licensed pharmacies using the same ingredients found in branded drugs. They are typically produced when the branded version of a drug is in short supply.
Although Wegovy is the only drug approved by regulatory authorities for weight loss, drugs like Ozempic and Rybelsus are frequently used off-label for this purpose. This off-label usage, coupled with the scarcity of supply, has led to a proliferation of compounded drugs, and in some cases, counterfeit versions. Novo Nordisk reported last year that it discovered impurities in compounded products claiming to contain semaglutide, the active ingredient in its drugs, with some samples containing as much as 33% impurity.
Moreover, concerns regarding patient safety have been raised, as evidenced by instances of dangerously low blood sugar associated with suspected fake Ozempic and compounded versions of weight loss medications. These developments underscore the importance of ensuring the integrity and authenticity of pharmaceutical products, particularly in the context of compounded medications.
Legal proceedings involving Novo Nordisk and the defendants are ongoing. The cases against Cosmetic Laser Professionals Med Spa and Nuvida Rx Weight Loss are being handled in the U.S. District Courts for the Southern District of Florida and the Northern District of California, respectively.
Representatives for Novo Nordisk, including Ronald Dove of Covington & Burling, are leading the legal efforts on behalf of the company. Meanwhile, Richard Guerra of the Brickell IP Group represents Cosmetic Laser Professionals, and Neil Khan of Trembly Law Firm represents Nuvida Rx Weight Loss.
These settlements and ongoing legal actions highlight the pharmaceutical industry’s ongoing efforts to combat the unauthorized use of trademarks and ensure patient safety in the face of increasing demand and supply chain challenges.