Danish pharma giant Novo Nordisk yesterday launched the world's fastest acting insulin in the Bangladesh market as the number of diabetic patients in the country is rising fast amid rapid urbanisation and change in lifestyle.
This fast-acting insulin will work four times quicker than short-acting human insulin and two-times quicker than the conventional rapid acting insulin.
It can be used in people with type-1 and type-2 diabetes, the company said in a statement.
AK Azad Khan, president of the Diabetic Association of Bangladesh (BADAS), launched the new insulin at a programme at Hotel InterContinental in Dhaka along with other senior high-ups of the company.
The new insulin can be used during pregnancy and breast-feeding period, the statement said.
"People living with diabetes often struggle to control blood glucose specially around mealtimes. This can be extremely challenging and may result in devastating diabetes-related complications," Khan said.
The insulin will help patients achieve desired blood glucose level with less hypoglycaemia and other diabetes-related complexities, he said.
Bangladesh had never been in a shortage of insulin, as Novo Nordisk was there in the country since 1958, he said.
However, some people could not buy it because of their financial problems, Khan added.
Around 50 per cent of diabetic patients are not diagnosed yet as they are not well aware of the problem, he added.
"I am really pleased to see that Novo Nordisk is playing a vital role in introducing research and development based innovative insulin for helping millions of diabetic patients in the country," said Winnie Estrup Petersen, ambassador of Denmark to Bangladesh.
"I believe that Novo Nordisk's local production facility will provide further access to quality insulin for patients," he added.
As part of the Diabetic Association of Bangladesh's awareness and prevention programme, Novo Nordisk is closely working with the association in creating nationwide awareness along with introducing innovative insulin, said Md Sayef Uddin, secretary general of BADAS.
"As a global leader in diabetes care, we are committed to introduce innovation for the benefit of people living with diabetes in Bangladesh," said Mihail Briciu, managing director of Novo Nordisk Bangladesh.
"We are continuously researching innovative solutions to improve diabetes management and more innovative treatment options are in the pipeline for people living with diabetes in Bangladesh," Briciu said.
In terms of diabetes care products, Novo Nordisk is the number one in the world, he said.
The company is affiliated in 80 countries and it markets its products to 170 countries.
Some 43,500 people around the globe now work for Novo Nordisk, which was established in 1923, he said.
Bangladesh is the 10th most diabetes patient burdened country in the world, he said.
One out of 11 adults had diabetes in 2019, Mihail said, while he was presenting the keynote paper at the event.
He also said 8.3 million people or 9.2 per cent of the adult population of Bangladesh have diabetes and 4 million patients have been diagnosed as of yesterday.
Some 15 million adults could have diabetes by 2045 and some $535 million was spent treating diabetes in 2019, he said.
Novo Nordisk, in partnership with Eskayef Pharmaceuticals, a leading pharmaceutical company owned by Transcom Group, has been manufacturing insulin in Bangladesh since 2012. Transcom Distribution Company distributes the insulin across the country.
Mohammad Mahbubur Rahman, head of medical and quality of Novo Nordisk; Md Tanbir Sajib, head of commercial affairs; Gazi Towhid Ahmed, public affairs manager, and Mezba Ul Gaffar, group product manager, were also present.