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Changing the way Filipinos think, live with diabetes

By Tess S. Samaniego
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:47:00 02/02/2008

Filed Under: Health, Diseases

MANILA, Philippines?Pharmaceutical firm Novo Nordisk wants to change the way Filipinos think and live with diabetes?and sees education, service and products as the key.

?We have to change the perception that it?s a simple disease. In fact diabetes is the 8th cause of death in the Philippines, with almost 4 million people affected,? said Vikrant Shrotiya, Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals? general manager.

?We want to defeat diabetes, as many cases are still left undetected and untreated,? he added.

4th main cause of death

Globally, the metabolic disorder ranks as the fourth main cause of death, and if not controlled, its deadly arm strikes back with heart attacks, kidney failures, blindness, amputation and obesity, Shrotiya explained.

He further said that although diabetes can already be considered an epidemic, not much attention is given to it.

?We have to fight the myths and misconceptions. People afflicted with diabetes is growing at a terrifying speed,? he noted.

According to Novo Nordisk, diabetes is seen to reach epidemic proportions with 19,000 people developing diabetes daily within the next 20 years, even ballooning to some 333 million by 2025.

It added that about 80 percent of diabetes cases will come from developing countries such as the Philippines.

By the end of 2008, diabetes will cause more than 3.8 million deaths globally, Novo Nordisk stated.

3-pronged agenda

For this reason, Shrotiya said Novo Nordisk has launched last year ?Changing Diabetes??a three-pronged agenda focusing on education, services and products.

Through Novo Nordisk?s education program, Shrotiya said they aim to get in touch with some 2,000 doctors and benefit at least 10,000 diabetic patients.

The firm has introduced in the country its ?Diabetes Leadership Thought Series,? where diabetes experts from around the world will visit the Philippines to share their ideas on the latest developments in diabetes treatments and control.

Recently, Endocrinology and Metabolism department chief of Denmark?s Aarhus University Hospital, Kjeld Hermansen, MD, DMSc, paid a visit to the country as part of the program.

Helping raise awareness

As for services, Shrotiya said Novo Nordisk expects to conduct at least 150 seminars this year and continue their medical programs to people afflicted with diabetes across the country.

Shrotiya added that through its Changing Diabetes Bus, Novo Nordisk will travel to different provinces this year to help raise awareness.

The bus, which will visit schools, hospitals, libraries, parliaments and town squares, will be open to everybody?from those who know nothing about diabetes to healthcare professionals, as well as local politicians and government officials.

Provide better products

Meanwhile, as a world leader in diabetes, Novo Nordisk aims to provide better products as it recently launched its insulin detemir, Levemir.

According to Shrotiya, this unique, modern basal insulin is very predictable and gives control with only one injection daily.

Levemir can be administered through FlexPen, that makes dosage delivery more accurate and lessens the pain of inoculation.

With products like these, the fear of hypoglycemia is reduced to a level where insulin injection is not feared, but welcomed, Shrotiya added.

The Philippines has one of the lowest insulin consumption in the world and in all of Asia. It has an estimated consumption of 6 units per capita while Sweden has the highest, with about 257 units per capita, Shrotiya explained.

Today, Novo Nordisk offers the most complete line of diabetes products available.

Dependable insulin therapies like NovoRapid, Levemir and NovoMix help patients regain control and normalcy in their lives.

The FlexPen, NovoLet and other patient-friendly delivery devices demonstrate the company?s initiative for finding solutions for people living with diabetes.

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