Patient safety

Every day, millions of people rely on the quality and safety of Novo Nordisk products. 

All medicines have potential side effects as well as benefits. We routinely monitor the safety and quality of all our products. This includes review of safety data from clinical studies and review of side effects and technical complaints received on marketed products. By monitoring quality and safety information on Novo Nordisk products we can take due and appropriate actions to safeguard patient safety if needed. 


Policies and governance 

Our Quality Mission is to safeguard patient safety, product quality and compliance with external and internal requirements. 

Our Quality Management System ensures that we adhere to international and local legislation and that safety information is handled in the same way no matter in which country the patient lives.

Global Safety in Novo Nordisk has a pharmacovigilance system in place ensuring that the necessary means for collection and notification of any safety data are in place.

Internally, a safety committee with members from all relevant functional areas is established prior to any clinical investigation of a new pharmaceutical product or medical device. This committee will exist throughout the product or device’s life-cycle. It is a multi-disciplinary team providing assessments of safety data, for a pharmaceutical product or medical device in development or on the market.


Assessing risks and taking action

Our Quality Management System includes the following process to ensure we continuously assess risks and act upon findings in a timely manner:  

  • Information about side effects, technical complaints and counterfeits are received from multiple sources, for example clinical trial participants, patients, healthcare professionals, partner companies, health authorities and literature
  • This information is entered into our complaint database, and side effects are also transferred and evaluated in the Novo Nordisk safety database
  • Regular analysis of data in the safety database is done to look for patterns associated with complaints, including side effects, such as new types or higher frequency of side effects.
  • In parallel, the health authorities independently review the information. This dual system for surveillance of data ensures optimal patient safety.
  • All relevant safety data from clinical trials, as well as safety data on marketed products, is presented to the safety committee on a regular basis. 
  • The safety committee decides on any necessary actions and the safety committee chairperson ensures actions are communicated to the relevant Novo Nordisk business area(s) for implementation. Actions could include advice on how the medicine should be used, inclusion of new warnings in the package leaflet, or ultimately stopping the use of the product.
  • Further procedures ensure we can react promptly and adequately if a Novo Nordisk product on the market, or used in clinical trials, is suspected of being affected by a significant product defect, such as recalling affected products.


In Novo Nordisk we are committed to patient safety. We want to make it easy for patients to get in contact with us, if they have a complaint or want to report a side effect. Therefore, we have established easily accessible online complaint reporting directions with contact information in local language.



On a regular basis, Global Safety Compliance Management meetings and Global Safety Management Board meetings take place to monitor the effectiveness of our Quality Management System. KPIs include:

  • Timeliness of reported side effects, technical complaints, Periodic Safety Update Reports and safety variations submissions
  • Identified safety signals
  • Number of potential and actual recalls which are included in our annual report
  • Audit and inspection findings

Read more about our annual performance


Stakeholder engagement

We engage and collaborate with external stakeholders to influence upcoming legislation and exchange knowledge of pharmacovigilance. Experience with external partner organisations is exchanged for example via the European Medicines Agency Stakeholder Meetings, EFPIA Pharmacovigilance Expert Group, EFPIA Anti-Counterfeit Working Group and Local trade associations. 

When engaging with stakeholders, we observe Business Ethics regulations.


Reporting concerns

We carry liability for our products in clinical trials as assumed under the special laws, acts and/or guidelines for conducting clinical trials in any country. However, we assume no liability in the event of negligence, or any other liability of the sites or investigators conducting the trial, or by persons for whom the site or investigator are responsible.

For marketed products, we have a responsibility to prevent or mitigate the risk of an impact continuing or recurring. This is done by continuously monitoring the safety profile of our products and ensuring appropriate actions are taken in case of a safety signal.