Novo Nordisk cuts price of diabetes drug in Denmark

On Monday, the price of a package of Novo Nordisk’s diabetes medicine was suddenly reduced by around USD 64 a pack. 
Photo: Hollie Adams
Photo: Hollie Adams

Reimbursement for the diabetes drug Ozempic has been a controversial topic recently, as it has been accused of being a drain on public finances. But on Monday, Novo Nordisk slashed the price.

The price of Ozempic has fallen from DKK 1313.35 (USD 187) to DKK 873.35 (USD 124) per pack according to Danish newspaper Politiken, which has had the price drop confirmed by the Danish Pharmacists Association and Novo Nordisk itself.

In a written response to Politiken, Novo Nordisk states that this is partly due to discussions about reimbursement for the medicine.

The medicine costs up to DKK 24,000 (USD 3,400) per year per patient and is more expensive than other diabetes medicines. The cost of the medicine is expected to reach DKK 1.4bn (USD 200m) a year by 2023.

In January, the Reimbursement Committee recommended that Danes with type 2 diabetes should not receive reimbursement for diabetes medicines of the GLP-1 analog type, which primarily consists of Ozempic.

The recommendation was forwarded to the Danish Medicines Agency, which will ultimately make the final decision on reimbursement. This is still pending.

‘In connection with the reimbursement process, we have chosen to adjust our prices, and we hope that this will ensure that patients who need Ozempic and Rybelsus (another Novo Nordisk diabetes product, ed.) can access treatment with conditional reimbursement as it is today,’ Novo Nordisk told Politiken.

Ozempic contains the active ingredient semaglutide. So does Novo Nordisk’s very popular weight loss drug Wegovy.

But although Ozempic and Wegovy both have a slimming effect, there is a difference in payment for the two products.

As a patient, you have to pay for Wegovy yourself. It costs DKK 1300-2400 (USD 185-343) per month.

For Ozempic, patients with type 2 diabetes can get a subsidy for the medication. However, diabetic patients must fulfil certain requirements to be eligible for public reimbursement.

The recent increase in the use of Ozempic has led many to speculate whether the medication is being taken for the wrong reasons.

(Translated using DeepL with additional editing by Catherine Brett)

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