Novo plots China growth to protect market share

Novo Nordisk won't cede its dominance in China so easily. The Denmark-based diabetes specialist will increase its investments in that country to keep hold of its No. 1 slot, COO Kaare Schultz said. "We don't fear any competition," Schultz avowed.

Schultz was responding to news that Sanofi, which is making inroads in many emerging markets, would train more than 10,000 doctors and diabetes-care experts in a Chinese government program designed to help contain the disease, Bloomberg reports. Well, Novo won't let that effort go unanswered, Schultz said.

The Danish company will increase its numbers across the board, Schultz told the news service. Sales, production and patient care will all get a boost. "You will see more manufacturing," he told Bloomberg. "You will see more education. You will see more training of patients. You will see more research locally."

China is one of the world's fastest-growing drug markets. Diabetes also is growing fast there, and with government spending on healthcare on the rise, drugmakers are vying for their share of treatment. The market for diabetes drugs in China is expected to triple by 2019. Sanofi has been beefing up research there, while Novo most recently embarked on a major expansion of its insulin packaging plant. Novo won Chinese approval for its Victoza drug in March.

- read the Bloomberg story