Novo Nordisk outlines its healthy cause

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Updated 09 September 2015

Novo Nordisk outlines its healthy cause

COPENHAGEN: In a trip that never missed excitement and wonder, Arab News visited Novo Nordisk, a health care global leader in fighting diabetes, in Denmark.
At a huge press meeting organized by Novo, journalists and media representatives from over 40 countries met with Lars Sorensen, CEO Novo Nordisk, and Mike Doustar, executive vice president of the company.
Sir Michael, the president of the International Diabetes Association, was also present and all participants were shocked with the alarming numbers he revealed about the prevalence of diabetes worldwide and the Middle East in particular.
Today, there are 382 million people with diabetes. This terrifying number is expected to reach 592 million diabetics by 2035. Saudi Arabia is among the countries with the highest prevalence rates worldwide.
Approximately 23 percent of Saudis have diabetes which means in simple words that one out of every four Saudis suffers from the disease.
According to the famous rule of halves, 50 percent of the diabetics have not been diagnosed. Half of those diagnosed do not have access to care. Of those who get treatment, only half of them achieve treatment targets. Most shockingly, 6 percent of the people with diabetes achieved desired outcomes.
Asked about the future of diabetes in the Middle East, Mike Doustar, executive vice president for international operations at Novo Nordisk, told Arab News in an interview: “It’s an unfortunate fact that diabetes is on the rise in the Middle East, in the Gulf region in particular, due to several reasons, including obesity and lack of physical activity.
“We are working very hard to provide the latest treatments to help people with diabetes worldwide live a normal life. Fifty percent of all insulin produced in the world is produced by Novo Nordisk, which puts huge responsibility on our shoulders. Knowing that at least one in every two patients wakes up in the morning to take medicine produced by us is a huge motivation that keeps us working around the clock and spending heavily on our R&D,” explained Doustar.
About its R&D investment, Doustar said: “We are among the top spenders of R&D in all industries and not only pharmaceuticals. Novo Nordisk spends 15 percent of its annual revenues on R&D.”
Referring to the psychosocial impact of diabetes, he said: “According to the DAWN2 study, which was carried out on 15,000 people across 17 countries into the impact of living with diabetes, the psychosocial impacts of diabetes are very tough. These impacts are rarely taken into consideration. The study concluded that 19 percent of people with diabetes feel discriminated against because of their condition. In addition, 37 percent of family members feel frustrated because they do not know how best to help their relative with diabetes. On top of that, 45 percent of people with diabetes experience emotional distress due to their diabetes.
The company boasts the world’s largest insulin production facility. The factory produces 50 percent of all insulin in the world. The largest insulin production facility in the world and a cornerstone of Novo Nordisk is Kalunborg, Denmark. The 1,000,000 sqm facility has 2,800 employees and produces 50 percent of the world’s insulin. This huge facility produces medicine that treats 24 million people on a daily basis.
Considering sport as key, Novo Nordisk has kicked off a unique initiative. It sponsors a team of professional cyclists. Surprisingly, all team members are diabetics. This is a proof that people can adapt and get control over their disease when they follow healthy lifestyle and diet in addition to regular physical activities, things we somehow miss in the Gulf region.


Gulf economies to take coronavirus exports hit says S&P

Updated 17 February 2020

Gulf economies to take coronavirus exports hit says S&P

  • S&P expects oil prices to remain at $60 per barrel in 2020 and decline to $55 from 2021
  • The ratings agency expects the impact on the banking sector to be low, with little direct exposure to Chinese companies

LONDON: Gulf states already hurt by a weak oil price could reap further economic pain from the impact of the coronavirus on their exports, S&P Global Ratings warned on Monday.

The ratings agency believes there is a risk that the economic impact of the virus could increase unpredictably with implications for overall economic growth, the oil price and the creditworthiness of some companies. Still, its base case scenario anticipates a limited impact for now.

“Given the importance of the Chinese economy to global economic activity, S&P Global Ratings expects recent developments could weigh on growth prospects in the GCC, already affected by low oil prices and geopolitical uncertainty,” it said in a report.

Although the rate of spread and timing of the peak of the new coronavirus is still uncertain, S&P said that modeling by epidemiologists indicated a likely range for the peak of between late-February and June.

Notwithstanding the spread of the virus, S&P expects oil prices to remain at $60 per barrel in 2020 and decline to $55 from 2021.

It sees the biggest potential impact on regional economies to be felt in terms of export volumes. S&P estimates that GCC countries send between 4 percent and 45 percent of their exported goods to China, with Oman being the most exposed (45.1 percent) and the UAE the least exposed (4.2 percent).

Beyond the trade of goods, the Gulf’s hospitality sector could also feel the effect of reduced tourist arrivals with hotels and shopping malls likely to suffer. The impact could be further amplified because of the high-spending nature of Chinese tourists.

On-location spending by Chinese tourists is the fourth largest in the world at $3,064 per person, according to Nielsen data. About 1.4 million Chinese tourists visited the GCC in 2018 with expectations of that figure rising to 2.2 million in 2023, and with the UAE as the main destination.

Chinese passengers also accounted for 3.9 percent of passengers passing through Dubai International Airport in 2018.

S&P said that if the effect of the new coronavirus is felt beyond March, the number of visitors to Expo 2020 in Dubai could be lower than expected.

The ratings agency expects the impact on the banking sector to be low, with little direct exposure to Chinese companies.