Danish pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk yesterday launched its new-generation, ultra-acting insulin -- Tresiba -- in Bangladesh, which would improve the quality of life of diabetic patients.
The once-a-day dose with a duration of action beyond 42 hours allows flexibility for day-to-day administration when needed, without compromising efficacy or risk of hypoglycaemia.
It reduces blood glucose levels with a lower risk of night-time hypoglycaemia, an episode of too low blood sugar levels, compared with insulin glargine.
Bangladesh is home to a large number of diabetic patients. It has over 8.4 million people with diabetes, which is expected to double by 2030, said Novo Nordisk Regional Vice President Camilla Sylvest at the programme at Radisson Hotel in Dhaka.
Sylvest said changes to lifestyles and food habits due to prosperity and economic growth is, unfortunately, the leading cause for the rise in diabetic population in Bangladesh, and the world over.
"The launch of Tresiba is a significant milestone for Novo Nordisk and the treatment of diabetes."
"This further reiterates our core responsibility to the people with diabetes and to society to deliver innovative and better products and help people achieve the best possible outcome of their treatment," she said.
Sylvest said the insulin would improve the quality of life and would fit well in peoples' lifestyles.
At a press meet before the official launch, Prof AK Azad Khan, president of Diabetic Association of Bangladesh, said only 20 to 25 percent of Bangladeshi diabetic patients have good control over their glucose levels.
The economic cost of type-2 diabetes is mainly related to its complications, which put heavy burdens on the health care system, he added.
"It is well-established that the risk of chronic complications is related to the level of glycaemia. The availability of Tresiba in Bangladesh with its profile of action will help many patients achieve required glycemic targets, thereby reducing complications and the cost of diabetes care."
A Rajan Kumar, managing director of Novo Nordisk Pharma in Bangladesh, said Tresiba insulin is available in FlexTouch, the only pre-filled pen with an easy touch button, enabling doses of up to 80 units in a single injection.
The insulin containing 300 units would cost Tk 2,490, he said. "The price will come down as sales grow."
Faruque Pathan, a professor of diabetes and endocrinology at Birdem, said the reduction in rates of nocturnal hypoglycaemia with Tresiba would hopefully allay some concerns and encourage patients and physicians to aim for tighter glucose targets.
Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with 90 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. The company also has leading positions within hemophilia care, growth hormone therapy and hormone replacement therapy. In Bangladesh, Novo Nordisk has been working to combat diabetes for over 50 years in close collaboration with Diabetic Association of Bangladesh.
The Danish company has teamed with Eskayef Bangladesh Ltd, one of the fastest growing pharmaceutical companies in the country, to produce some high-quality insulin -- at affordable prices. Transcom Distribution Company Ltd is the authorised distributor of Novo Nordisk insulin in Bangladesh.
Jahangir Hossain Mollik, director general of Directorate General of Drug Administration, Hajera Mahtab, professor emeritus of Bangladesh University of Health Sciences, and Zafar Ahmed Latif, director of Birdem Academy, were also present.