Novo Nordisk changes
strategy in Germany, launches diabetes drug
Send a link to a friend
[May 28, 2014]
By Shida Chayesteh
(Reuters) - Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk, the world's
biggest insulin producer, said on Wednesday it had
decided to launch its diabetes drug Tresiba in Germany
on May 1 after seeing signs of a more favourable pricing
Tresiba was approved in the European Union last year, but despite
Germany being Europe's biggest market Novo hesitated to market
Tresiba because German authorities have been reluctant to support
new and more expensive drugs.
"We've recently observed that Germany has started to reward new
innovative drugs," Jakob Riis, executive vice president of Marketing
& Medical Affairs in Novo Nordisk, told Reuters.
In 2011 Germany started comparing the benefits of newly approved
drugs with those of existing treatments and gave medical insurers
more bargaining power in price talks with drug makers.
That prompted a number of companies to refrain from launching
products in Germany, including Boehringer Ingelheim and partner Eli
Lilly, who chose not to sell diabetes drug Trajenta there.
"The bar may have been moved slightly down in Germany," Riis said.
In Germany, he said, drugmakers can initially set the price they
want for new products and get a subsidy at the same time. Then,
within a year, German authorities initiate an assessment process to
find out if the price or subsidy should change.
"Within 12 months, we must agree on a price otherwise we will leave
the market," Riis said.
[to top of second column]
In December 2013 Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca said they
would pull a new diabetes drug from the German market because they
had failed to agree on a price with a body of medical insurers.
While the EU approved Tresiba, U.S. regulators unexpectedly refused
to approve it in February 2013 until Novo Nordisk conducted extra
tests over potential heart risks, dealing a major blow to one of the
company's main products as well as to its share price.
(Editing by Susan Fenton)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.