Novo Nordisk Funded Study: Obesity Epidemic Warning

Apr 29, 2019 | Diabetes Type 2, Epidemic, Novo Nordisk, Obesity

TrialSite News wrote about the obesity epidemic’s severe ramifications. We noted after a survey of global obesity clinical trials, Denmark-based Novo Nordisk had by far the most robust obesity pipeline. ITV reports a recent study emphasizes the imminent danger. Presented at the European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Glasgow Scotland, researchers revealed those with body mass index (BMI) of 30 -35% faced a 70% higher risk of heart failure as well as a number of other considerable risks.  The UK-based study included data from the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink.

Novo Nordisk’s Christiane Haase  noted “the health risks linked with having excess body weight are particularly high for Type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea.” He continued “with the number of people living with obesity almost tripling worldwide over the past 30 years. Our findings have serious implications for public health.”

As TrialSite News published  in October 2018, all evidence points to a mounting global obesity crisis.  Direct and indirect costs to health systems can only grow, barring heretofore unanticipated changes to human behavior across developing and emerging economies.  Although it should be well known that diet, activity and behavior play a key role in the initial onslaught, it is apparent knowledge is not correlating to any material improvements in the chronic diseases’ growth.

Based on TrialSite News research, in addition to a dynamic push for food, dietary and lifestyle changes, payers (commercial insurance, managed care, Medicare & Medicaid, et al) in the United States need to consider more pervasive coverage for obesity and not just its comorbidity diagnoses (e.g. cardiovascular disease, diabetes, etc.).  Considering the magnitude and severity of the crisis worldwide, the researchers were surprised by the dearth of concentrated commercial investment involved with obesity drug research. Based on our active research criteria, only a handful of biopharmaceutical companies have reported trials in Clinicaltrials.gov.

Although during a TrialSite News survey of global obesity clinical research trials, we did uncover a range of activities, and even a Korean study focusing on select herbal remedies, we did not research this approach or its validity. However, there are other established biotech ventures commercializing obesity drugs including Orexigen, Arena Pharmaceuticals and Vivus Inc. to name some examples. Moreover, when the search was expanded to include obesity beyond “obesity drugs,” other sponsors such as Rhythm Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Medimmune (AstraZeneca), Boehringer Ingelheim, Janssen and Novartis as well as others have some active obesity pipeline activity.

Undoubtedly, there are other ventures and activities, but only one company appears to have worldwide focus on obesity as measured by considerable R&D investment. That company would be Novo Nordisk of Denmark.

Lead Research/Investigator

Christiane Haase

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