COPENHAGEN Feb 15 Denmark's Novo Nordisk
, the world's biggest insulin producer, will sell its
long-acting insulin Tresiba in Europe at a 60-70 percent premium
over rival product Lantus from France's Sanofi.
Novo is in the process of negotiating prices of the new
insulin in Europe, and recently agreed with authorities in the
United Kingdom to price the insulin 60-70 percent above
competing products in the market, as it is believed to hold some
advantages over its rivals.
"The prices in Europe will be more or less at the same level
(as in the UK)," Novo's head of marketing and medical affairs
Jakob Riis told Reuters on Friday.
As the world suffers from an epidemic of type 2 diabetes
tied to over-eating and lack of exercise, demand for treatments
has snowballed and competition intensified.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) refused to approve Novo's Tresiba until it conducts extra
tests for potential heart risks, dealing a major blow to a key
product for the Danish drugmaker.
Shares in Novo, the world's leading insulin maker and the
most valuable company in the Nordic region, slumped 12.5 percent
as it said the decision would make it harder to meet long-term
Tresiba has already been approved in Europe and Japan.
Sanofi's Lantus is expected to continue its double-digit
sales growth after the FDA refused to approve Tresiba.
The French company said on Wednesday it would invest 44
million euros ($59 million) on its site in Waterford, Ireland,
to boost production of Lantus.
Novo Nordisk has said it expects to launch Tresiba in the UK
and Denmark in the first half of 2013, and in other European
countries later this year and next year.
(Reporting by Stine Jacobsen; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)