Issue 1: Healthcare Reform

The costs associated with diabetes and its related complications will continue to skyrocket without improved access to affordable healthcare. This first issue of the Novo Nordisk BlueSheet examines how legislation, advocacy and research can help to change the way diabetes is funded and treated in the U.S. today.

Expert Q&A:

Changing Diabetes: One Bill at a Time

Diabetes is dramatically underfunded when it comes to government spending. At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cancer and HIV/AIDS are funded at a rate five and 10 times higher, respectively, than diabetes, yet diabetes surpasses both diseases in prevalence. Legislation would help make diabetes a higher priority among federal agencies, increase the investment in research and prevention, improve access to care and resources for screening and diagnosis, reduce health disparities, and improve coverage and benefits for people with diabetes.

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Listen to Michael Mawby, Chief Government Affairs Officer for Novo Nordisk, talk about the need for increased diabetes funding (01:59).

Common Cents

The Investment in Preventive Health

Securing adequate funding for preventive health services presents a significant challenge to the nation's budget. To evaluate this investment, today's policymakers need a long-term analysis of healthcare costs in order to make accurate decisions that reflect the true impact of prevention programs. Among all chronic diseases, diabetes offers the best data, modeling and studies to help government budget analysts better understand the value of the costs/savings associated with preventive health programs.

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How Expensive is Diabetes?

In a recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal Health Affairs, researchers from the University of Chicago predict that the diabetes population in the U.S. will almost double over the next 25 years and annual medical spending on the disease is projected to nearly triple, hitting $336 billion, up from $113 billion today. The population and costs associated with diabetes are expected to add a significant strain to our overburdened health care system unless we make changes in our public or private strategies. Increased screening and better access to care may require additional funding now, but these measures will significantly reduce the costs associated with disease treatment and complications in the long run.

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Advocacy in Action

Increased funding for prevention and wellness is a key component of the current health care reform legislation. Indeed, the Senate bill would provide $15 billion over 10 years. This prevention/wellness trust would focus on a number of wellness initiatives, including: 1) a national strategy to improve the nation's health through evidence-based clinical and community-based prevention and wellness activities; 2) a grant program to support the delivery of evidence-based and community-based prevention and wellness services aimed at reducing health disparities; 3) promotion of positive health behaviors in medically underserved communities; and 4) grants to plan and implement programs to prevent obesity among children and their families.

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The 4-1-1 on Diabetes

Nearly 24 million Americans have diabetes and another 57 million have pre-diabetes and are at risk of developing the disease. (2007 National Diabetes Fact Sheet, CDC)

  • In comparison, 11.4 million Americans have cancer and 1.05 million Americans have HIV.

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BlueSheet Newsletter: Issue 1

(Downloadable Print-Ready Version)

BlueSheet Newsletter: Issue 1 (Downloadable Print-Ready Version)

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Letter from the President

Welcome to the inaugural issue of the Novo Nordisk BlueSheet, the industry's definitive resource for information on diabetes and chronic disease. Novo Nordisk is a healthcare company and world leader with an 87-year history of innovation and achievement in diabetes care. Each quarter, we will highlight key issues in diabetes prevention, detection, treatment and care and related topics from the legislative process to innovation in patient care to public education. In our first issue, we tackle a topic that has been at the forefront of Congress and every dinner table and water cooler across America – health reform. Clearly, we like a challenge.

Like many of those involved in the debate over health reform, we have an ambitious goal. We want to defeat diabetes. Whether it's collaborating with partners in the public and private sector, funding science and research or supporting education and humanitarian efforts, Novo Nordisk is 100% committed to finding better methods of diabetes prevention, detection and treatment.

Access to care, utilization and rising costs are fueling the current healthcare debate and one of the major drivers of utilization and costs today is diabetes. As the fifth deadliest disease in the U.S., diabetes affects almost 24 million Americans. In fact, it costs the nation an astonishing $218 billion each year in medical expenses and lost productivity. That amounts to 10 percent of all U.S. healthcare spending.

With such staggering numbers, we have to ask ourselves, why isn't there more funding and government support for diabetes today? Given what we know now, shouldn't diabetes have a substantial role in health reform? Something just doesn't add up here, particularly since the federal government has

Jerzy Gruhn - President of Novo Nordisk Inc.

consistently dedicated significant funding and resources to diseases like cancer and HIV/AIDS over the years – an investment that has accelerated progress for those diseases. We need to fix this disparity – starting now.

Without improved access to affordable healthcare, and the jury is still out as to whether the recently enacted legislation will be affordable, the costs associated with diabetes and its related complications will continue to skyrocket. This is precisely why we also need to improve the way diabetes is funded and treated. This is a critical time. Just as our country has had a national response to cancer and HIV/AIDS, diabetes must have a national response focused on prevention and treatment.

As a global leader with more than 87 years in the prevention, detection, treatment and care of diabetes across 76 countries, we've seen the power of innovative thinking, perseverance and passion. From our work in developing nations to the invention of innovative products that enhance the lives of patients to our continuous lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill, Novo Nordisk is dedicated to changing how diabetes is treated, how it is viewed, and how the disease evolves in the future. But we cannot do it alone. By stimulating a public dialog, we hope to act as a catalyst for change by encouraging action, influencing legislative policy and building advocacy for the prevention, detection, treatment and care of diabetes around the world.

Jerzy Gruhn - President of Novo Nordisk Inc.

For more information please contact:
Sean Clements
Associate Director, Media Relations
Phone: +1 609 514-8316
Cell: +1 609 902-9164