Danish Government and Novo Nordisk first to partner with UN-anchored initiative on non-communicable diseases


Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes and hypertension kill 15 million people prematurely each year.1 More than four in five of these deaths are in low- and middle-income countries where access to essential medicines is inadequate.1

New York, US, 24 September 2018 ­– Today, the Danish Government and Novo Nordisk are announcing grants of 3 and 5 million US dollars respectively to the newly established Defeat-NCD Partnership during a launch event at the UN General Assembly. These are the first grants made to the ambitious partnership that aims to initially raise 100 million dollars to fund the mobilisation of knowledge, tools, capacities and finances to scale-up action to defeat NCDs in low-resource countries.

Through four tracks of action the Partnership will contribute to:

  • Building national capacity
  • Scaling up community health services
  • Expanding availability of affordable essential medicines
  • Securing financing to achieve universal health coverage for NCDs

For the Danish government, this grant is a way to show its commitment to developing and strengthening partnerships as an essential part of the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 set by the UN. “We believe that this Partnership has high potential to address the increasing burden connected with diabetes and hypertension in low-resource countries in a new and innovative way. If we are to fulfil the promises of the Sustainable Development Goals we must engage with new partners and move out of the comfort zone of the usual development engagements,” says Ulla Tørnæs, Minister for Development Cooperation, Denmark.

For Novo Nordisk, this Partnership is a critical next step in improving access to diabetes care in low-resource countries where inefficient procurement and supply chains can result in high prices for patients due to mark-ups and shortage of essential NCD medicines. In supporting Defeat-NCD, Novo Nordisk will continue to optimise its supply chain procedures and share its knowledge on handling and distributing cold chain products.

“From experience, we know that the inefficient procurement and supply chains in many low-resource countries are critical barriers between life-saving medicines and the people who need them most. We hope that this Partnership can simplify processes around the tender bidding and ensure efficient supply of low-cost human insulin,” says Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen, CEO of Novo Nordisk.

The next step for the Partnership is to expand the number of partners to accelerate progress within the four tracks at national level in low-resource countries.


About the Defeat-NCD Partnership

The mission of the Defeat-NCD Partnership is to enable and assist all low-resource countries to scale-up action on NCDs. NCDs threaten progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which has a specific target (SDG 3.4) of reducing premature deaths from NCDs by one-third by 2030.

The partnership will initially focus on diabetes and hypertension – conditions that are closely related and that contribute to the burden of premature death and disability caused by NCDs.2,3Subsequently, the Partnership will address other NCDs of major prevalence and impact such as certain cancers and lung conditions.

The Defeat-NCD Partnership was established in January 2018 to help tackle the most significant global health challenge of the century – NCDs. The public–private partnership is hosted by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and includes governments, multilateral agencies, civil society, academia, philanthropic foundations and the private sector.


Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with 95 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. This heritage has given us experience and capabilities that also enable us to help people defeat obesity, haemophilia, growth disorders and other serious chronic diseases. Headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk employs approximately 43,100 people in 79 countries and markets its products in more than 170 countries. For more information, visit novonordisk.com, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube.


In a changing world, the mission of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark is to work for Denmark’s interests and values in relation to the world around us in a way that promotes freedom, security and prosperity of the Danish people and a more peaceful and justice world of development and economic growth for all. The ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark is headquartered in Copenhagen and employs approximately 2,400 people with 102 representations worldwide.

For more information visit www.um.dk and our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube channel.

Further information & media contacts

Novo Nordisk: 
Charlotte Zarp-Andersson                 +45 3079 7603          czpa@novonordisk.com

Ken Inchausti (US)                            +1 609 240 9429       kiau@novonordisk.com

Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
Marie Dørup Olesen                          +45 6197 9020          mardor@um.dk

Andrew Zaganelli Giacalone (US)       +1 (646) 262-1437      andgia@um.dk



1.       World Health Organization. Noncommunicable Diseases. Fact sheet. 2018; www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs355/en/. Accessed 2 September, 2018.

2.       Epstein M, Sowers JR. Diabetes mellitus and hypertension. Hypertension. 1992;19(5):403-418.

3.       Parving H-H, Hommel E, Mathiesen E, et al. Prevalence of microalbuminuria, arterial hypertension, retinopathy, and neuropathy in patients with insulin dependent diabetes. British medical journal (Clinical research ed). 1988;296(6616):156.

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