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Novo Nordisk is a focused biotech healthcare company founded in 1923. Novo Nordisk combines drug discovery with technology to turn science into solutions for people with diabetes, men and boys with haemophilia, people with growth hormone deficiency and women experiencing the symptoms of menopause. Headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk employs around 30 000 people in 76 countries and markets its products in 179 countries.
The backdrop to Novo Nordisk's operations – and to this chapter – can be provided by a brief analysis of the pharmaceutical industry as a whole. Medicines developed by pharmaceutical companies have greatly contributed to the increase in life expectancy, to the improvement of quality of life and to the eradication of diseases that were previously life-threatening. Key figures indicate that the pharmaceutical industry is a major asset in the economies of Europe, the USA and Japan (e.g. European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, 2010). Given the nature of its products and the fact that they are most often paid for by public funds, the industry is highly dependent on public trust and customer confidence that it is truly dedicated to saving lives and improving well-being, and that it does not operate just to make profits. However, surveys indicate that public trust in the sector is low relative to other sectors (e.g. Harris Interactive, 2010).
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