The challenge of diabetes now touches every country of the world and
disproportionately affects people in resource-poor settings. In low-
and middle-income countries, where 80% of people with diabetes live,
the level of awareness of the condition remains low in spite of the
growing burden.1 Diabetes care is hindered by limited
healthcare capacity and shortage of healthcare professionals who can
diagnose and effectively treat diabetes. Lack of a steady supply of
diabetes medicines and equipment is also among the barriers to
effective diabetes care.1
- Novo Nordisk advocates for equal rights and accessibility to
healthcare for all as stated in the United Nations Universal
Declaration of Human Rights.
- Novo Nordisk supports
the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the World Health Organisation’s
(WHO) Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of
Non-Communicable Diseases 2013-2020.
- Novo Nordisk
provides approximately half of the world’s insulin. The company is
the largest provider of generic human insulin worldwide and has a
broad product portfolio to cater for different income groups. The
company is committed to always having a low-priced insulin.
- To improve access to medicines in resource-poor settings, Novo
Nordisk renewed its Preferential Pricing Policy – the Access to
Insulin Commitment – as of 2017. This commitment guarantees the
supply of low-priced human insulin to least developed countries and
other low-income countries as well as to organisations providing
relief in humanitarian settings. Under this commitment, we provide
human insulin in vials at a guaranteed ceiling price. The
ceiling price for 2019 is set at 4.00 US dollars per vial. As of
2019, the guarantee is expanded to include 29 middle-income
countries as defined by the World Bank. This means that a total of
78 countries, home of 124 million people with diabetes1,
as well as selected humanitarian organisations, can benefit from
this guarantee. See our position
- Challenges in the supply chain may entail
high price mark-ups and can thus hinder people with diabetes from
getting insulin at an affordable price. The company is working with
partners to find solutions to these challenges. For one example, see
with the PATH Coalition.
- Novo Nordisk considers
access to diabetes care to be broader than just access to
medicines.3 Health infrastructures, including the
availability of skilled healthcare professionals, and medicines
distribution systems constitute a central element of diabetes care
and for many people with diabetes it represents a major barrier to
access to care. More
information about our partnership programmes to improve access to
- Novo Nordisk neither engages in patenting
activities in least developed countries (as defined by the United
Nations) as well as low-income countries (as defined by the World
Bank), nor enforces patents in these countries. The company
recognises that health emergencies, that require making exceptions
to intellectual property rights, can and should be accommodated
under the international legal framework, but only under
extraordinary circumstances: (i) national emergency, (ii)
circumstances of extreme urgency, or (iii) public non-commercial
use. Novo Nordisk does not support any routine use of compulsory
licensing. As an example, absence of local manufacturing should
never be a ground for issuing compulsory licenses.
2002, Novo Nordisk established the World
Diabetes Foundation (WDF) as an independent and non-profit
organisation. The WDF supports prevention and treatment of diabetes
in low- and middle-income countries through funding of sustainable
projects. The total endowment from Novo Nordisk comes to a maximum
of USD 277 million to be allocated between 2001 and
- While Novo Nordisk believes that product donations
are not a sustainable way of improving access to care, the company
has a policy on emergency relief in disaster-struck areas in
adherence with WHO’s Interagency Guidelines for Drug
Donations4 and also donates insulin to vulnerable
children as part of the Changing
Diabetes® in Children programme. See
our position on medicines donations.
1. International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes Atlas, 8 ed.
Brussels, Belgium: International Diabetes Federation;2017.
2. Assuming average daily dose of 40 IU, as per WHO, Drug and
Therapeutic Committee - A Practical Guide, 2003, Annex 6.1.
3. WHO (2017). Diabetes Fact Sheet 2017. Available at
http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/diabetes (accessed 25/6/2018).
4. WHO (2010). Guidelines for Drug Donations. Available at: