The story is part of an emerging web of counter-narratives designed to confuse Western public opinion and deny Moscow's involvement in the poisoning of Alexei Navalny.
This argument follows a recurring Kremlin pattern of denying that Navalny was poisoned and that Moscow had anything to do with it. In this case, the argument is that Novichok is only a lethal military-grade nerve agent and that the result is always death. However, we know that Novichok is a highly toxic nerve agent that slows the heart, paralyses the muscles used for breathing and — if the dose is big enough — can lead to death by asphyxiation. A smaller dose may result in seizures, neuromuscular weakness, liver failure and other damage. This has been presented in various other reports here, here and here. So, Novichok does not necessarily lead to the death of everyone who came in contact with it.