Novo Nordisk CEO sees lim­ited scope for US price in­creases

The Pak Banker - - BUSINESS -

Novo Nordisk A/S ex­pects that rais­ing prices in the U.S. will be­come more chal­leng­ing and and is bank­ing on the in­tro­duc­tion of a key new drug this month to grow in the world's big­gest phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal mar­ket.

Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Lars Re­bien So­erensen says the the Bagsvaerd, Den­mark­based drug­maker has seen a change in the en­vi­ron­ment in the U.S. List price in­creases there will be "very lim­ited" and will likely be off­set by de­mands for re­bates by pay­ers, he told re­porters on a con­fer­ence call Wed­nes­day.

Novo, the world's largest maker of in­sulin, re­ported fourth-quar­ter earn­ings that missed an­a­lysts' es­ti­mates on Wed­nes­day as it spent more to pro­mote new drugs and one of its top three prod­ucts suf­fered from com­peti- tion and higher re­bates.

"The main driver to the top-line will be the in­tro­duc­tion of new drugs," he said. "Typ­i­cally, in the be­gin­ning of their in­tro­duc­tions, they re­quire less re­bates, and as they ap­proach pa­tent ex­pi­ra­tions, they in­crease over time." In Novo's case, that means win­ning a pre­mium price for its new in­sulin Tre­siba is a pri­or­ity. To that end, the com­pany is try­ing to dif­fer­en­ti­ate the prod­uct from com­peti­tors'. Last week, Novo said a study com­par­ing the drug with Sanofi's best-seller Lan­tus showed that Tre­siba was bet­ter at low­er­ing rates of ab­nor­mally low blood sugar events, known as hy­po­glycemia. Still, the dif­fer­ence is mod­est and it's un­clear whether the ben­e­fit will be rec­og­nized by pay­ers in dis­cus­sions on re­im­burse­ment, ac­cord­ing to Jo Wal­ton, an an­a­lyst at Credit Suisse Group AG.

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