Kolkata, Howrah hit hard by diabetes
PRICING BALANCE Getting the pricing mix right is a balancing act for Novo, whose giant factory at Kalundborg, 100 km west of Copenhagen, supplies half the world’s insulin, making both modern products for rich markets and cheap generics for the developing world. Up until now, the West – particularly the United States – has accepted higher prices for more convenient and effective treatments. But the climate is changing, with Novo losing a major U.S. managed care contract with Express Scripts in the face of cheaper competition to Victoza, while austerity-hit Europe is reluctant to pay up for Novo’s new drugs.
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Diabetes is a metabolic disease in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced. While 3.5%-5.7% of Bengal’s population is diabetic, the figure shoots up for Kolkata (12%) and Howrah (13.2%). “There are mainly three districts – Kolkata, Howrah and Burdwan (8.7%) – where the rate of diabetes is higher than other areas because of mass urbanization coupled with stress-related problems. Diabetes can be controlled if treated at an early stage but most people come to us very late, sometimes even 10 years late, so the chances of getting cured become remote,” said Subhankar Chowdhury, secretary of Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India ( RSSDI ). “We will organize a Madumeha Mela (Diabetes Fair) at Netaji Indoor stadium on November 13, which will be inaugurated by minister of state for health Chandrima Bhattacharya.
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