Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with 88 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. The company also has leading positions within haemophilia care, growth hormone therapy and hormone replacement therapy. Headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk employs approximately 32,500 employees in 74 countries, and markets its products in 179 countries.
Government affairs is not new to Novo Nordisk. We have always cared about and engaged in debate in society in general and the health policy agenda in particular. With the creation within the last few years of a dedicated Public Affairs capability, we seek to build a more systematic and coherent approach globally and across functions.
Public Affairs can be defined broadly as the “multidisciplinary management of public policy issues and opportunities by adapting to and influencing public behaviour, attitudes and policies”. In Novo Nordisk, Public Affairs has a long-term perspective and a solid foundation in other disciplines such as health economics, medical affairs and public relations. The arena of Public Affairs covers several stakeholder groups: regulatory bodies, payers and policy-makers, health care professionals and the diabetes community. This means all people with a specific, direct stake in better diabetes care and prevention, including people with diabetes and their networks.
The management of Public Affairs in Novo Nordisk is the discipline of understanding, entering into a dialogue with and even partnering with these groups to promote better quality in care for people with diabetes. Going forward, our public affairs efforts will also be extended to other areas, such as haemophilia, where Novo Nordisk has a leadership position and responsibility.
Our public affairs ambitions
We advocate an ambitious approach with three integrated ambitions:
- Give people with diabetes appropriate priority: assign governmental resources on par with the scope and severity of the disease and its complications
- Drive outcomes for people with diabetes: motivate governments to reorganise healthcare systems around a holistic and outcomes focused perspective from the earliest risk factors to late-stage complications. The quality of care ambition is to improve control, prevent or delay complications, improve quality of life for people with diabetes and achieve long-term savings for society
- Break the curve of the global diabetes pandemic: mobilise multi-stakeholder efforts to monitor the fight against diabetes and set clear targets for improvements in prevention, quality of care and reduction of disease progression, complications and deaths caused by diabetes
Breaking the curve of diabetes is a win-win situation for people with diabetes, for society and for Novo Nordisk. Our three patient-focused Public Affairs ambitions go hand-in-hand with our Corporate Strategy and Triple Bottom Line (TBL) approach and support our diabetes product portfolio. We live up to our ambitions through wide-ranging initiatives such as the Changing Diabetes® Leadership Forums and the Changing Diabetes® Barometer
Our Public Affairs Guidelines
Transparency is central to our objectives, interests and activities within public affairs. When engaging in public affairs activities that address issues which are material to the company or are of significant public interest, we state our interests and positions in an open and honest manner. We make our position statements available online or in readily available written publications.
Our Business Ethics policy and procedures set standards for our public affairs activities and engagement with stakeholders such as public officials, healthcare professionals and patient organisations.
Interactions with public officials
Our representatives may interact with public officials for the purpose of discussing legitimate Novo Nordisk business in an open manner. There should always be full openness about whom and what interests are represented in dialogue and negotiations with public officials. These also include instances when external consultants are used to represent the interests of Novo Nordisk. Novo Nordisk observes proper conduct in interactions with public officials. This means that we do not malign a person’s integrity, make misleading false, injurious or discriminatory mentions of other parties, or use personal information about private lives in a way intended to intimidate or to exert pressure. Novo Nordisk employees must never offer anything of value to a public official for the purpose of obtaining an improper benefit for Novo Nordisk. Modest gifts and entertainment may only be provided to public officials if it is permissible under local law and if it is consistent with usual and customary local practice.
As a world leader in diabetes care, we believe Novo Nordisk has the potential and moral obligation to make a difference for people with diabetes and we advocate globally to improve models for chronic care. We strive to improve the quality of life for people at risk for and with overt diabetes, in part by ensuring that the impact of diabetes and other chronic, non-communicable diseases is understood so that appropriate measures are taken for prevention and treatment.
Health policy approach
Novo Nordisk takes a stakeholder approach to engaging in health policy discussions about quality diabetes care. We enter into dialogue with regulatory bodies, payers and policy makers and the diabetes community. Our public affairs work focuses on the tremendous unmet need for better prevention, early detection, and better quality treatment in diabetes care.
Our work in public policy is integrated with our corporate mission to defeat diabetes, Changing Diabetes®, our Triple Bottom Line approach, and our diabetes product portfolio. By putting people with diabetes first and championing their right to the best quality care, we believe our business will secure a fair return.
Public Affairs in the U.S.
In the US, our government affairs office engages with legislators, regulators and other policymakers to Change Diabetes®. We also work to ensure a fair and competitive marketplace for the development and delivery of Novo Nordisk’s lifesaving products.
In 2011, our focus regarding healthcare reform legislation in the US was on regulatory guidance and rules for future implementation. We were active in monitoring and recommending positions that advocated for type 2 diabetes prevention, as well as adequate insurance coverage and better care and treatment for people with diabetes. We worked closely with internal and external stakeholders in representing Novo Nordisk’s interests by engaging with government regulatory agency officials, advocating as part of industry groups and supporting grassroots efforts. The US Congress passed legislation in 2011 to identify USD 1.2 trillion in savings for deficit reduction. We advocated against any new rebates to the government for prescription drugs funded by the US Medicare programme. This position was in alignment with the industry view that the current market-based structure of Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage is working well – based on high patient satisfaction rates and lower-than-expected costs – and should be retained. We continued on-going efforts to raise awareness that diabetes disproportionately affects minority populations and is a major contributor to health disparities in America. We worked with the National Black and Hispanic Caucuses of State Legislators, respectively, to educate elected state officials about the link between the twin epidemics of diabetes and obesity in America and how it is affecting black and Hispanic constituents. At the federal level, we helped educate members of the Congressional Black, Hispanic, and Asian Pacific American Caucuses about diabetes disparities. As a result this work, our educational efforts key legislators asked the government to conduct an evaluation of diabetes in minority populations with respect to on-going research, data collection, community-based interventions and training for healthcare professionals. In 2011 we launched an online platform to help our US employees communicate with their legislative representatives in Washington. DC. Employees can communicate about issues that impact Novo Nordisk and the patients the company serves. As of year-end, employees had sent nearly 4,500 messages to Capitol Hill urging their elected officials to support a variety of issues including funding for the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Diabetes Prevention Program.
Public Affairs in the EU
Our European Changing Diabetes® Advocacy office in Brussels monitors and participates in dialogues regarding legislative and institutional developments at EU and national level, but also actively engages in understanding and supporting the voice of patient groups in Europe and advocating for improvements in the lives of people with diabetes.
The safety and efficacy of biologics are key issues in the whole patient safety debate. Key concerns in prescribing biologics to patients include counterfeit medicines, pharmaco vigilance, medication errors but also biosimilars related potential safety issues, such as immunogenicity, safety issues associated with automatic substitution and labelling issue.
Under the auspices of the Danish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the OECD and the Danish Diabetes Association will be hosting the European Diabetes Leadership Forum in Copenhagen in April 2012. Novo Nordisk will be a principle sponsor and organiser of this event. The Forum will attract business leaders, politicians, health professionals and people with diabetes to address the pressing problem of this chronic condition at all stages – prevention, detection, monitoring and treatment.
Novo Nordisk hopes that the outcomes of the European Diabetes Leadership Forum will play a constructive role in creating a roadmap for the prevention and control of diabetes as a model
for chronic disease management – and thus other chronic conditions. Preparations for the Forum have involved engaging with key stakeholders to develop an agenda that will present solutions to improving the management chronic diseases in Europe. This activity is being jointly organized between the European Changing Diabetes Advocacy office, and the Global Stakeholder Engagement and Global Marketing teams within Novo Nordisk.
Diabetes Dialogue – a network of parliamentarians engaged in diabetes advocacy
Novo Nordisk has supported the establishment of a new network of 150 parliamentarians from across Europe engaged in diabetes advocacy. The network is comprised solely of parliamentarians and focuses on sharing information of relevance to their advocacy work.