A systematic approach to bioethics

A dedicated and systematic approach to dealing with bioethical dilemmas related to research and development is one of the ways Novo Nordisk is putting the commitment to sustainability into practice. A virtual team of more than 100 Novo Nordisk employees prepares and suggests new initiatives, develops and implements new policies and guidelines, and supervises the company's handling of bioethical issues worldwide.

The bioethical work is governed by the internal Sustainability Committee mandated by the Executive Management Group. The committee is chaired by Lise Kingo, Executive Vice President and Chief of Staffs and includes Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, Executive Vice President and Chief Science Officer. A dedicated department 'Bioethics Management'; a Research and Development Bioethics Council (RDBC); an Ethics Review Council (ERC) and several expert groups collaborate as a virtual bioethics team. The expert groups are established to deal with specific bioethical issues. Presently, Novo Nordisk has expert groups on the following issues:

  • Clinical trial ethics
  • Stem cell research ethics
  • Human biological material ethics
  • Animal welfare ethics
  • Gene technology ethics

We realise that we are dependent upon the experience of others in order to improve our own performance. We get valuable input from not only our own employees and collaborators with hands-on experience, but also from our internal audits and the external revision of our activities. Just as important are the input from our stakeholders and the attitudes found in society at large. We listen to all these voices and take the new information into account in our review of existing bioethical guidelines or in the formulation of new policies.