Though the article suddenly disappeared from the internet shortly after IDDT's Jenny Hirst wrote a letter to the Editor of the UK Medical Journal, The Lancet, in late 2000.

Key Communications had proudly announced the following on their web site from some time just after their very successful PR (public relations) campaign for Novo/Nordisk:


Defend the safety profile of genetically engineered human insulin.

Prior to the mid-1980s, porcine and bovine derived insulin were the only insulins available to diabetics. Human insulin, derived from genetically modified organisms, was introduced in the UK by Novo Nordisk. However, some patients claimed that on switching to the new insulin, their warning signs of hypoglycaemic attack were diminished, increasing the risk of coma.

A patient pressure group - the National Diabetes Federation was formed following a World in Action programme which suggested a link between human insulin and sudden deaths among diabetics. A class action by NDF patients against Novo Nordisk was initiated through the UK's Legal Aid Board.


A counter communication campaign was needed. A reactive strategy was recommended, despite internal client pressure to actively promote human insulin. However, when approached by the media we were open and helpful.

The issues/crisis management programme spanned three years. We deliberately avoided direct media confrontation with patients and representatives of patient groups. HQ/UK medical spokespeople were media trained. Extensive, rapid media monitoring of diabetes stories worldwide enabled identification of claim conscious lawyers and preparation of reactive press statements.


Legal action collapsed (two key double-blind trials found in favour of human insulin) Following the trial results, legal aid was denied, litigation collapsed Novo's reputation remained intact among patients, health professionals and media Sales of human insulin continue to grow Medical professionals accepted that human insulin has an excellent safety profile. The specific use of insulin from genetically engineered sources never developed as an issue.

We note that Novo now admits problems with human insulins, see the file NOVO TRUTH.