COPENHAGEN Denmark's Novo Nordisk, the world's biggest insulin producer, will sell its long-acting insulin Tresiba in Europe at a 60-70 percent premium over rival product Lantus from France's Sanofi.
Novo is in the process of negotiating prices of the new insulin in Europe, and recently agreed with authorities in the United Kingdom to price the insulin 60-70 percent above competing products in the market, as it is believed to hold some advantages over its rivals.
"The prices in Europe will be more or less at the same level (as in the UK)," Novo's head of marketing and medical affairs Jakob Riis told Reuters on Friday.
As the world suffers from an epidemic of type 2 diabetes tied to over-eating and lack of exercise, demand for treatments has snowballed and competition intensified.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) refused to approve Novo's Tresiba until it conducts extra tests for potential heart risks, dealing a major blow to a key product for the Danish drugmaker.
Shares in Novo, the world's leading insulin maker and the most valuable company in the Nordic region, slumped 12.5 percent as it said the decision would make it harder to meet long-term financial targets.
Tresiba has already been approved in Europe and Japan.
Sanofi's Lantus is expected to continue its double-digit sales growth after the FDA refused to approve Tresiba.
The French company said on Wednesday it would invest 44 million euros ($59 million) on its site in Waterford, Ireland, to boost production of Lantus.
Novo Nordisk has said it expects to launch Tresiba in the UK and Denmark in the first half of 2013, and in other European countries later this year and next year.
(Reporting by Stine Jacobsen; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)