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Novo Nordisk

By David Mendosa

Last Update: December 1, 1998

The best part of the Novo Nordisk USA site is its educational services section, which offers basic information about diabetes online.

The name Hagedorn sounds familiar…

The pages here include basic facts, treatment plans, emotions, counting calories and carbs, high and low blood sugar, and "the power within you." POWER here is an acronym. It stands for establishing the PROBLEM, setting the OVERALL goal, choosing WHAT habit to change, EVALUATING how to do it, and REWARDING your success. While it's a little contrived, following these five steps will give you control over your diabetes.

The second part of Novo Nordisk's site describes its products. The insulin page has a useful chart showing the company's eight insulins and their time of onset, peak, and duration. Other product pages describe the company's insulin pens and Prandin (repaglinide), the newest oral blood glucose-lowering drug available in the United States. In addition to three fact sheets, you can download the complete product insert for Prandin in Adobe Acrobat form.

The Prandin pages are the ones that attract the most visitors, says Susan Jackson, Director of Corporate Communications for Novo Nordisk. The site went on-line in April 1998, she says, and gets about 3,000 to 4,000 visitors per month. That's not many considering the importance of the company to people with diabetes, especially those who use insulin. In the United States Eli Lilly and Company sells about 80 percent of the insulin, and Novo Nordisk sells all the rest. But worldwide Novo Nordisk has the largest share of the insulin market.

Novo Nordisk is a Danish company based in Copenhagen. Formed in 1990 of the merger of two companies headquartered there, the Nordisk roots go back to the early 1920s. In 1922, building on the discovery of insulin the year before by Canadian researchers Drs. Banting and Best, Dr. Hans Christian Hagedorn and Professor August Krogh succeeded in making insulin in Hagedorn's house and at Krogh's institute. Novo separately produced its first insulin in 1924.

If the name Hagedorn sounds familiar today, it is because the formulation of insulin called NPH stands for neutral protamine Hagedorn. The parent company of Novo Nordisk USA, Novo Nordisk A/S tells the whole story on its linked site. See The Story Behind Novo Nordisk.

Back in the U.S.A., Novo Nordisk has big changes afoot at its Web site, Ms. Jackson says. "We are discussing the development of a page for healthcare professionals to access on which we may put prescribing information and information about continuing medical education." 

The American Diabetes Association originally published this article on its Web site as one of my “About the Internet” columns.

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