COPENHAGEN May 28 Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk
, the world's biggest insulin producer, said on
Wednesday it had decided to launch its diabetes drug Tresiba in
Germany on May 1 after seeing signs of a more favourable pricing
Tresiba was approved in the European Union last year, but
despite Germany being Europe's biggest market Novo hesitated to
market Tresiba because German authorities have been reluctant to
support new and more expensive drugs.
"We've recently observed that Germany has started to reward
new innovative drugs," Jakob Riis, executive vice president of
Marketing & Medical Affairs in Novo Nordisk, told Reuters.
In 2011 Germany started comparing the benefits of newly
approved drugs with those of existing treatments and gave
medical insurers more bargaining power in price talks with drug
That prompted a number of companies to refrain from
launching products in Germany, including Boehringer Ingelheim
and partner Eli Lilly, who chose not to sell diabetes
drug Trajenta there.
"The bar may have been moved slightly down in Germany," Riis
In Germany, he said, drugmakers can initially set the price
they want for new products and get a subsidy at the same time.
Then, within a year, German authorities initiate an assessment
process to find out if the price or subsidy should change.
"Within 12 months, we must agree on a price otherwise we
will leave the market," Riis said.
In December 2013 Bristol-Myers Squibb and
AstraZeneca said they would pull a new diabetes drug
from the German market because they had failed to agree on a
price with a body of medical insurers.
While the EU approved Tresiba, U.S. regulators unexpectedly
refused to approve it in February 2013 until Novo Nordisk
conducted extra tests over potential heart risks, dealing a
major blow to one of the company's main products as well as to
its share price.
(Editing by Susan Fenton)