On November 13, 2001, Novo Nordisk announced a decision to establish an international foundation called the World Diabetes Foundation (WDF) with the purpose of supporting projects that will improve diabetes care in developing countries.
According to a November 13, 2001, WDF press release, subject to shareholder approval at its Annual General Meeting this March, Novo Nordisk will donate approximately $60 million (U.S. dollars) to the WDF over the next ten years for implementation of projects.
The WDF is part of a broader Novo Nordisk initiative known as LEAD-Leadership in Education and Access to Diabetes care-which aims to improve diabetes care in developing countries, where 100 million people with diabetes live. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this number is likely to increase to more than 230 million by 2025, due in part to population growth and longer life expectancy, coupled with rapid urbanization and a more unhealthy lifestyle.
“As the world’s leading diabetes care company, Novo Nordisk confronts these problems every day,” says Lars Rebien Sorensen, president & CEO of Novo Nordisk. “If left unattended, hundreds of millions of people will suffer, and already strained healthcare systems will be faced with insurmountable problems. Both our own people and doctors who work in developing countries have raised the red flag and told us that special measures must be taken urgently, if the diabetes problem is to be prevented from spinning out of control.”
Sorensen adds that Novo will:
• Share the knowledge and experience it has accumulated over 75 years regarding the prevention and treatment of diabetes.
• Assist in developing the necessary capacity of local healthcare systems in dealing with the disease, through training and education programs.
• Offer its insulin products to the public health systems in the poorest countries at prices not to exceed 20 percent of the average price in North America, Europe and Japan.
• Use the WDF as a means to increase financial support to the healthcare systems of the poorest countries with regard to diabetes care.