Novo Nordisk today announced a new partnership to establish human insulin production in South Africa as part of an expanded commitment to provide life-saving treatment to people living with diabetes across the African continent. 

Today, Novo Nordisk is reaching more than 500,000 people with diabetes across Sub-Saharan Africa. The new partnership will enable production of human insulin for the African continent. Next year, there will be a production of 16 million vials, equivalent to the yearly consumption of 1,1 million people. By 2026, this number will increase to 4,1 million people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes across the African continent1

“We firmly believe that access to quality healthcare is a fundamental human right,” said Katrine DiBona, corporate vice president for Global Public Affairs and Sustainability at Novo Nordisk. "We are committed to providing affordable human insulin to ensure access to quality treatments for even more people with diabetes in the African continent. At the same time, it is equally important for us that we are doing it in a sustainable way by focusing on local production.”

Novo Nordisk will work with Aspen SA Operations (Pty) Ltd. and Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Limited (Aspen) in South Africa to step up existing supply of affordable human insulin. 

By 2030, it is estimated that more than 60 million people living with diabetes worldwide will not have access to the insulin they depend on. Individuals living in low- to middle-income countries will be disproportionately affected – including the 24 million adults currently living with diabetes in Africa. This figure is estimated to increase to 55 million by 20452.

The World Health Organization has emphasised3 the importance of providing sustainable access to quality-assured and affordable medicine through local production. Today, the African continent imports more than 80 percent of its medicine4.

The expanded commitment supports the African Union’s Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa (PMPA)5. The collaboration between the partnership allows for local production, storage, and distribution of human insulin in vials in the African continent and means more equitable access to lifesaving care to people with diabetes. 

The human insulin will be distributed at low-cost to health authorities and non-governmental organisations through government tenders as part of Novo Nordisk’s sustainable business integrated model, iCARE. With iCARE, Novo Nordisk will guarantee a ceiling price of human insulin at 3 USD per vial. The initiative will expand following the partnership to further collaborate locally to improve access to care for people with diabetes across the African continent. 

Launched in 2021, iCARE is Novo Nordisk’s ambitious business integrated model in Sub-Saharan Africa that works through partnerships across the region to put in place and strengthen four fundamental pillars for sustainable diabetes care.

Driven by Novo Nordisk’s regional affiliate covering 49 countries, iCARE aims to address poor access to insulin and improve access to quality diabetes care. iCARE has 4 fundamental pillars for better access to care for people living with diabetes: capacity, affordability, reach and empowerment. 

Novo Nordisk is a leading global healthcare company, founded in 1923 and headquartered in Denmark. Our purpose is to drive change to defeat serious chronic diseases, built upon our heritage in diabetes. We do so by pioneering scientific breakthroughs, expanding access to our medicines, and working to prevent and ultimately cure disease. Novo Nordisk employs about 59,000 people in 80 countries and markets its products in around 170 countries.

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[1] Applying average daily dose of 40 IU, as per WHO, Drug and Therapeutic Committee – A Practical Guide, 2003, Annex 6.1.


[2] International Diabetes Federation, 2021. Diabetes Atlas 2000-2045 (10th edition 2021)


[5] African Union, 2022. Analysis of the current state of development of the local pharmaceutical manufacturing and regulatory capabilities in the African Union (AU) recognized Regional Economic Communities (RECs)