Our position on access to diabetes care

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. From 1 August 2020. the ceiling price is set at USD 3.00 per vial for 76 Least Developed Countries as defined by the United Nations, other low-income countries as defined by the World Bank and middle-income countries where large low-income populations lack sufficient health coverage. These countries are home to 124 million people with diabetes1.. See our position on pricing.
  • 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 our partnership 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 care.
  • 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. 
  • In 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 2024
  • 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 programmeSee 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: http://www.who.int/medicines/publications/med_donationsguide2011/en/ (accessed 25/06/18).


Read more about Novo Nordisk positions and activities in related areas: