Novo Nordisk leading Danish contributor to US elections

The global pharmaceutical leader has contributed considerably to the American elections, but some warn of a tarnished image

(photo: Merlijn Hoek)
October 16th, 2012 7:57 pm| by admin
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Novo Nordisk, the world's leading maker of diabetes medicine, is the leading Danish contributor to the upcoming US elections, according to statistics accumulated by Politiken Research.

The Bagsværd-based drug maker has contributed around one million kroner to various politicians, many of whom oppose President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform.

The healthcare reform, which was passed in 2010, is set to go into full effect in 2014, is expected to catalyse a decrease in the price of medicine and is likely to reduce the annual turnover for Novo Nordisk.

The financial support from the pharmaceutical giant is given through a political action committee (PAC), which Novo Nordisk has established in the US. PACs are not allowed to receive money directly from foreign companies, but it’s legal as long as the funds come from Novo Nordisk employees who are American citizens or hold permanent residence in the US.

But by supporting opponents of the healthcare reform, some are accusing the Danish company seems of contradicting its own ethical standards, which indicate that the company is “firmly committed to improving access to health”.

Esben Pedersen, of the Copenhagen Business School's Center for CSR, which looks at the social responsibility of companies, believes that Novo Nordisk backing Republican politicians is inconsistent with its stated mantra.

“If there is a systematic discrepancy between what Novo Nordisk said they want to do and those candidates which they support, then it is a problem for them,” Pedersen told Politiken newspaper.

But Mike Rulis, Novo Nordisk’s head of communications in Denmark, contended that the company does not have an official opinion on the healthcare reform and thus sees no problem in backing politicians who oppose it.

“Do we agree with everything they stand for? No, we don’t. And that goes for the Democratic and Republican candidates we have backed. But they do some things that we can identify with and want to part of furthering,” Rulis told Politiken.

Novo Nordisk is the world's leading producer of diabetic medicine, garnering 26.5 billion kroner in the US alone in 2011.

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