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More efforts needed to fight diabetes

Regional chief of Novo Nordisk stresses collaboration with stakeholders to win the battle

Bangladesh needs to put more efforts in collaboration with all stakeholders to win the battle against diabetes, as the country is sitting on a ticking bomb with 8.4 million diabetic patients, a top pharmaceutical executive said.
“Bangladesh may have 16 million diabetic patients by 2030. That is a scary situation and something we have to work in collaboration with our partners on how we can avoid that before it gets so bad,” said Camilla Sylvest, regional vice president of Novo Nordisk.
“The government is doing their part to improve the healthcare. I think we need to collaborate further because this problem gets bigger and bigger everyday.”  Bangladesh is the eighth largest country with diabetic patients, according to data from 2011 of the Brussels-based International Diabetes Federation. By 2030, the country is expected to move up to the fifth position.
Of the 8.4 million patients, only 52 percent is diagnosed, according to the Federation.
Sylvest, who is responsible for Novo Nordisk’s operations in 21 countries including Bangladesh, Asean countries, Australia and New Zealand, came to Dhaka recently to announce the launch of the Danish pharmaceutical giant’s new-generation, ultra-acting insulin — Tresiba.  The once-a-day dose with duration of action beyond 42 hours allows flexibility for day-to-day administration when needed, without compromising efficacy or risk of hypoglycemia.  It reduces blood glucose levels with a lower risk of night-time hypoglycemia, an episode of too low blood sugar levels, compared with insulin glargine.

“The speciality of Tresiba is that it can be dosed anytime of the day without jeopardising your blood sugar control,” Sylvest said.
This means patients can live a much more flexible life with diabetes, which makes Tresiba very special, she said.
“Tresiba does not have the same level of low blood sugar episodes we call hypoglycemia like other insulin products,” she said. This will not only improve the lifestyles of patients with diabetes, but also take away a lot of worries from the families.  “We have got overwhelming response from patients in other countries where we have launched the insulin.” Bangladesh is one of the first 10 countries in the world where the insulin was launched. The insulin containing 300 units will cost Tk 2,490.  Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with 90 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. It commands roughly half the world market for insulin and a quarter for overall diabetes-care medicines.  The market share of Novo Nordisk in Bangladesh is 70 percent in insulin business.
In Bangladesh Novo Nordisk has been working for changing diabetes for over 50 years in close collaboration with Diabetic Association of Bangladesh (DAB), supporting it to raise awareness and run health education programmes. It is also providing training to doctors so they can manage diabetes. Novo Nordisk is currently helping the DAB to open 500 clinics in rural areas.
“The Diabetic Association is doing a good job. I don’t think this kind of model exists anywhere in the world,” said Sylvest, who has been working for Novo Nordisk for 18 years.
“The role model relationship between Novo Nordisk and the Diabetic Association is something that we aspire to do in other countries.”  She said the number of patients is also increasing significantly in many other countries due to a transformational change in lifestyles. “People are moving to cities and don’t work as the way as before. We don’t exercise enough and eat food that is not as healthy as it should be. That has direct impacts on the prevalence of diabetes.” There are 382 million people living with diabetes in the world, and that figure is expected to rise to 592 million by 2035, according to the International Diabetes Federation.
In Bangladesh, Novo Nordisk is running Changing Diabetes in Children project to improve diabetes care for children.
At present, 1,600 poor children are involved with the programme. Novo Nordisk gives them free access to insulin products, blood sugar measurement and knowledge about diabetes. “This increases awareness about diabetes among children, their parents and above all the society,” Sylvest said.
“We are very, very happy to run such a programme. This is one of the biggest corporate social responsibility activities of Novo Nordisk globally.”  As figures show that 70 percent of the patients with diabetes live in cities, Novo Nordisk has launched a programme to make the city-dwellers aware of the imminent danger. The “cities changing diabetes” programme has begun in Mexico City recently.  The aim of the programme is to map the problem, share solutions and drive concrete action to fight the disease in big cities around the world.  Local partners will include healthcare professionals, city authorities, urban planners, businesses, academics and community leaders. Sylvest said Bangladesh will also be a part of the programme in the coming years.
During her stay in Dhaka, Sylvest also paid a visit to Eskayef, one of the fastest growing pharmaceutical companies in the country, where Novo Nordisk produces some of its insulin products.
“I went to Eskayef to understand how insulin is produced. We talked a lot about our quality. Eskayef has a strong focus on quality. There is a very strong commitment to ensure that high quality insulin is delivered to the patients.”  “They [Eskayef] also have a very strong commitment to being socially responsible. That is where the values of both the companies actually match nicely.”
Due to collaboration with Eskayef, the prices of some of its insulin products are on a par with other local manufacturers.
“This is very important in our effort to meet the growing need of insulin in Bangladesh,” Sylvest said.   She said Bangladesh is one of the countries in the world that has access to Novo Nordisk’s full portfolio of insulin.
A Rajan Kumar, managing director of Novo Nordisk Pharma in Bangladesh, said Transcom Distribution, which has one of the best distribution networks in the country, maintains the global distribution practices of Novo Nordisk to reach the insulin to patients.
“It is doing an amazing job.”


Md Fazlur Rahman. The Daily Star.

Posted by on Nov 14 2015. Filed under News at Now. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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