KUWAIT: I was privileged to visit a dedicated pharmaceuticals company that plays a vital role in the society as it provides genuine and quality products. Novo Nordisk came into existence about 90 years ago. The idea came out of the love a husband has for his beloved wife as he sought ways to make – and administer insulin so that his wife would live a normal life.
Novo Nordisk has become a global healthcare company that has been focusing on innovation and leadership in diabetes care. The President & CEO Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen said “the heritage has given us experience and capabilities that also enable us to help people defeat other serious chronic conditions: such as haemophilia, growth disorders and obesity. Novo Nordisk products are marketed in 165 countries. The company has research and development centers in China, Denmark, UK and US.
Novo Nordisk employs over 42,000 staff, and supplies half of the world’s insulin. Over 28,000,000 individuals use Novo products. Along with other colleagues, we toured the Novo Nordisk facilities in Kalundborg, Denmark. Besides being a leading research and innovative company, Novo Nordisk is environmentally responsible as it gears towards renewable energy. Officials there are working on “ensuring that one company’s waste is another company’s raw material.”
Diabetes, which affects more than 415 million people around the world today, is expected to hit 642 million by 2040. It is estimated that 86,000 children develop Type 1 diabetes every year, while 90% of people with diabetes have Type 2. It is noted that 70% of Type 2 diabetes cases can be prevented by adopting healthier lifestyles.
“The idea behind (Saxenda) came after the introduction of Victoza. When clinical studies were being made on Victoza prior to launching it, we realized a big side effect which is weight loss. This was something strange at the time because our experience was with insulin which creates weight gain. So almost every drug at the time which reduces HbAIC ought to increase weight”, Executive Vice President, International Operations Maziar Mike Doustdar explained.
“Victoza acted otherwise – and actually to the level where we went into the notion that this would be a good drug for even non-diabetic patients. Many people were prescribing if off label, so it was necessary to create the right dose for obese people. Sexenda will most likely be launched next year, and it is something we’ve waiting for a long time. I see the whole Gulf region as a huge potential,” he added.
Doustdar said that one does not need to ask a research company to carry out a market research on obesity. “There are many people who are suffering from obesity, and if you can support them early enough, hopefully the progression of Type 2 diabetes will be reduced, which is our ultimate goal. We know that obesity has to do (besides some genetics) with some simple calculation of caloric intake and output, and if the intake is more than the output, then one becomes obese,” he said. He said that Novo Nordisk has a product called Semaglutide, which is taken once (weekly). It is a glucagon-like peptide -1 (GLP-1) that is used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. For now, it is in an injectable form.
Responding to a question about diabetes awareness program – in Kuwait, he said that there are 15 health personnel in Kuwait. He said that there are 400,000 patients with diabetes according to IDF; 300,000 of them are diagnosed which means that the awareness and the diagnostics are more advanced now. That is really good, but in terms of those 400,000, there are only 50,000 who are living a normal life. “We need to put more emphasis on making sure they have the best medicine, and I am very happy with Trisba, which was recently launched,” He added.
By Abdellatif Sharaa