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This is why Novo is losing market shares

According to the CFO of the Danish diabetes giant a global shift in the diabetes market is to blame for the decline in the company’s market shares.

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Photo: Colourbox

Novo Nordisk’s share of the global insulin market has gone from 50 to 49 % this year as of May 2013. The previous year the share fell by one per cent as well.

According to CFO, Jesper Brandgaard, the reason for the decline in market shares is a global shift in the market.

“The market is shifting from traditionally having had a high share of human insulins to having a gradually increasing share of modern insulins,” he says and elaborates:

“Within modern insulins, which are really on the move, our market share is at 46 %. Because our share in this area is still not on par with the other parts of our business, we are losing market shares as the market shifts towards modern – especially basal – insulins. In this area, Sanofi’s Lantus takes more than 50 % of the patients, and that is gradually eating away at Novo’s market shares.”

The answer is Tresiba

The answer for Novo Nordisk is to roll out Tresiba on a global scale, and as the company manages to build up its Tresiba business, they expect to counter this tendency.

But that will not happen in the short term, says Jesper Brandgaard. The only key market on which Tresiba has been launched so far is Japan, and the CFO does not expect Novo Nordisk to publish separate data for Tresiba until 2014.

“Japan is a small market as far as basal insulins go, especially compared to a market like the US, so the numbers are fairly modest so far. Tresiba has a market share of 6.8 % of the Japanese market for basal insulins 21 weeks into the launch,” he says, adding:

“And we also have to negotiate better reimbursement deals on a number of European markets. We only have unconditional reimbursements in Switzerland, and the development looks good there, but then again, it is not a very big market.”

Increased sales force

The company has indirectly transferred funds to use in the launch of Tresiba on the US market, which are now being used to commercialize two other products.

“In Q3 2012 we increased the sales force in our US diabetes business by some 650 sales reps. As we weren’t able to launch Tresiba as expected, we have instead dedicated our sales force to especially Victoza and Levemir in the US. It has led to very satisfactory results,” he says.

US sales of Victoza rose by 33 % in Q1 2013, while global sales of Levemir rose by 17 %.

- translated by Martin Havtorn Petersen

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