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Novo Nordisk pulls Tresiba in Germany after pricing row

Published on 06/07/15 at 05:53pm
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Novo Nordisk has discontinued its distribution of once-daily basal insulin Tresiba after pricing talks with the German body that represents healthcare insurers broke down.

The negative outcome of the tough price negotiations with GKV-Spitzenverband, the association that represents healthcare insurers operating in all of the country's 16 regions and liases on their behalf with the German government, prompted Novo Nordisk to withdraw their insulin product Tresiba (insulin degludec) from the market.

Novo bosses claim that the price demanded by GKV-Spitzenverband does not recognise the 'vital benefits' of Tresiba, and the Danish specialist firm says it is unwilling to accept the offer which will undermine their research and development efforts.

“We are very sad that it has not been possible to reach a price agreement with the insurance fund,” says Jakob Riis, executive vice president in Novo Nordisk. Accepting the price "would not be in the best interest of the millions of people with diabetes for whom current treatments are insufficient to control their disease," he added.

He continues: “We deeply regret the uncertainty and inconvenience this situation creates for the affected patients and physicians in Germany, and will do our utmost to support them in the process of switching patients to another insulin treatment.”

In order to ensure a safe switch to another insulin treatment for the 40,000 people with diabetes currently using Tresiba, Novo Nordisk will continue supplying the product until the end of September 2015.

Following the decision to withdraw the drug from Germany, the Danish firm has stated that its decision to cease the distribution of the drug will in no way affect the availability of Tresiba in other markets where it is has been launched and used.   

As many countries use Germany as a guideline reference for their own pricing decisions, an agreement of this sort can be potentially damaging to Novo with knock-on effects around Europe. Currently, Novo Nordisk is anticipating Tresiba's approval in the US.

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