By Vicky Chan, VP, Clinical Development, Medical and Regulatory Affairs, Novo Nordisk Canada Inc. Published 24 January 2019
Patient-centricity is the mindset of designing a service or solution around a patient. At Novo Nordisk, patients are at the centre of our business, so much so that it is laid out in the Novo Nordisk Essentials, 10 clearly defined statements describing how the Novo Nordisk Way works in practice.
Every day our employees make decisions with the attitude that our choices and outputs should benefit our customers the most. It is a part of our culture, and when we ask employees why they choose Novo Nordisk or why they stay, they often reference our dedication to putting the needs of the populations we serve first. When you look at Novo Nordisk’s history, patient-centricity is a large part of our DNA. Our founder, Nobel prize physiologist August Krogh, traveled to Toronto from Copenhagen after hearing that Banting and Best were working on a compound for diabetes, which he thought could help his wife Marie, who had Type 2 diabetes. Marie Krogh was particularly interested in the treatment as well. Herself a doctor, she had in 1914 also become the fourth Danish woman to earn a doctorate in medicine. She was a researcher with her own medical practice and had several patients with type 1 diabetes. It was Marie, who suggested that her husband contact the University of Toronto where the first life-saving insulin extract had been produced. Our roots stem from August Krogh’s relentless pursuit to find the best treatment for his wife, Marie, a patient.
Almost 100 years ago, Novo Nordisk embarked on treating diseases that were not very common1 because we knew the impact our treatments could have on patients’ quality of life. Now, diabetes, obesity and other chronic illnesses are growing health issues despite the range of treatments available, affecting the lives of many people worldwide and we are still committed to exploring these areas for the benefit of patients. Often, chronic diseases like obesity are associated with stigma focused on diet, weight or lifestyle habits. Unfortunately, it is not universally accepted that being overweight and living with obesity are diseases, evidenced by the low treatment rates despite their high prevalence. As a result, Novo Nordisk is committed to Changing Diabetes® and Changing ObesityTM. We are dedicated to finding effective treatment options and change common misconceptions to further help patients.
Patient-centricity is also an important part in our drug development and advocacy for access. We invest in clinical trials so that our stakeholders can take an evidenced-based approach to their treatment decisions. Our trials allow us to collect data on the best treatment options and develop innovative therapies that empower individuals to effectively manage their disease. Novo Nordisk is about to begin the largest study, with 17,500 participants, focused on long term treatment of obesity. We believe it is our responsibility to conduct these innovative trials in order to change the way treatments for chronic diseases are viewed.
What started as one couple’s search for a treatment for diabetes has grown into an organization-wide commitment to excellence in care and innovation. From 1922 to today, it’s a legacy we’re proud to uphold because patients are at the center of all that we do and we are committed to putting them first.
1 Gale EA. The rise of childhood type 1 diabetes in the 20th century. Diabetes. 2002 Dec;51(12):3353-61.
The Essentials are ten clearly-defined statements describing how the Novo Nordisk Way works in practice, helping our managers and employees to act in accordance with our core values