In June, FSG and GBCHealth hosted a webinar, on how pharmaceutical and medical device companies can create shared value in global health, building on our paper, Competing by Saving Lives, which we launched earlier this year. This post is the third in a series where the panelists answer some of the great questions we received from members of the audience, but did not have time to address. Today, we’ll hear from Ole Kjerkegaard Nielsen, Programme Director for Corporate Sustainability at Novo Nordisk.
Question: What are some of the more notable examples of how pharmaceutical and medical device companies have created shared value by improving the policy/regulatory environment?
OKN: Novo Nordisk has documented two cases. The first case is the case of China, and the series of public private partnership between the World Diabetes Foundation, the Ministry of Health and Novo Nordisk, the first what was called the National Diabetes Programme (NDP). The objectives were to develop and widely disseminate the National Diabetes Prevention and Treatment Guideline which was initiated by the Ministry of Health who established a group of experts to prepare and develop the guideline. This part of the project is run and managed by the Chinese Diabetes Society (CDS), a professional body consisting of doctors. The objective for the guideline promotion is to standardize clinical practice in managing diabetes in different regions and at different levels and to train clinical practitioners to become aware of the guideline and how to apply and comply with it across the country. Over a period of five years 8600, health care professionals – doctors and nurses from 36 cities and 300 counties will be trained to implement the guidelines. Another objective was to explore and establish a community health center-hospital integrated Diabetes Management Model adapted to the needs of different regions of China, and spread the successful experience of the pilots all over the country by creating and establishing a Diabetes Management Model for different levels of care. This part of the project is managed by the National Centre for Chronic and Non-communicable Disease Control and Prevention in the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) under the Ministry of Health. It will explore models of best practice to integrate hospital services and community health services into one system so that continuous services related to diabetes management can be delivered to people with diabetes. This would be achieved through a comprehensive and intensive investigation into the current situation, with reference to international excellence and multi-site pilot studies. Starting with initially 8 pilot sites in 8 cities the models was extended to 30 sites over five years. You can find more information here and here.
Another example is how Novo Nordisk is supporting public policies in USA through its Washington office. The intention is to focus the health care system on the needs of people with diabetes and to reduce the social and economic consequences of under treatment. It is hard to ascertain direct value to such advocacy efforts mentioned, but since 2006, Novo Nordisk has engaged in activities intended to make diabetes a public policy priority. We have been working to put diabetes on the national health policy agenda for several years — ?rst through the National Changing Diabetes® Program (2005) and, later, the Diabetes Advocacy Alliance TM (DAA) in 2010. Collectively, these initiatives have focused on driving federal policy change through stakeholder engagement. Our early public policy efforts were grounded in science and involved building an evidence base of more than 10 peer-reviewed papers conveying the economic impact of diabetes and its complications. This contributed to the enactment of several diabetes-related proposals. Notably, we were the only pharmaceutical company to support the creation of the National Diabetes Prevention Program and the Prevention and Public Health Fund. More recent coalition-based efforts have focused on the need for screening and prevention, and on how lifestyle change can reduce the prevalence and costs of diabetes. You may find more information here.
Question: Does the Chinese government recognize the need for continuing medical education as a result of your efforts?
OKN: The brief answer to this question is that we are currently not seeing clear signs from the central government addressing the needs of continuing medical education.
Question: What role are you playing with nutritional education?
OKN: Nutritional education is a basic part of all diabetes management, and is so integrated into most education material pieces and is the first in line treatment for diabetes type 2. Basically we say that effective diabetes management requires more than good medicines
Effective diabetes management requires the availability of high quality medicines, clinics, trained doctors and nurses, as well as training of patients to competently manage their condition. For a person with diabetes, proper use requires education on managing the balance between diet, blood glucose response, prescribed treatment and daily life activities. This is the huge challenge for a person with diabetes and we have several initiatives where we are working with the role of nutritional education, but also how this plays into the lives and daily activities of people with diabetes. Currently, we are running a large study called DAWN2, including more than 16000 individuals including people with diabetes, their families, and health care professionals.