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'Avalanche of diabetes' undermines economies worldwide, Novo Nordisk CFO says

  • "Our view is that we have got to make it transparent that this is an avalanche of obesity and diabetes which is affecting world economies," Jesper Brandgaard, CFO at Novo Nordisk, told CNBC on Wednesday
  • At the end of October, a report published by the Cities Changing Diabetes partnership warned that annual diabetes-related health expenditure would spiral to more than $1 trillion in 2045, up from around $775 billion at present

An inexorable global rise in diabetes must be taken "more seriously" by society, according to the chief financial officer at the world's top manufacturer of diabetes drugs.

"Our view is that we have got to make it transparent that this is an avalanche of obesity and diabetes which is affecting world economies — and we have got to do something about it," Jesper Brandgaard, CFO at Novo Nordisk, told CNBC on Wednesday.

He added that while diabetes is a "slow-moving epidemic," it would continue to "undermine" economies around the world unless the international community takes urgent action.

At the end of October, a report published by the Cities Changing Diabetes partnership warned that annual diabetes-related health expenditure would spiral to more than $1 trillion in 2045, up from around $775 billion at present.

The report, entitled 'Bending the Curve on Urban Diabetes,' stressed that an increase of nearly 40 percent in global expenditure to treat sufferers was a conservative forecast.

Bend the curve

A leading cause of diabetes is obesity and if that could be reduced by 25 percent over the same period then it would be possible to "bend the curve" on the disease, the report said.

"Partnership with cities in changing the way we live, changing the way we manage our health… I think that is the long-term solution," Brandgaard said.

In the U.K., one in every four adults and around one in every five children aged 10 to 11 are estimated to be affected by obesity, according to the National Health Service (NHS).