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Novo Nordisk pledges insulin supply for Britain

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Novo Nordisk pledges insulin supply for Britain
A Novo Nordisk employee controls a machine at an insulin production line in a plant in Kalundborg. File photo" Fabian Bimmer/Scanpix
10:12 CET+01:00
The world's leading insulin maker, Novo Nordisk, guarantees supplies for British diabetics, including Prime Minister Theresa May, no matter what happens with Britain's tortured EU withdrawal process, its boss said on Friday.
"Nobody relying on our product should be worried," Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen told AFP in an interview before the British deputies rejected May's plan for a British exit from the European Union a third time.
 
 
"As long as Brexit has not happened, we can move goods in and out so we keep your safety storage high," the company's chief executive emphasised.
 
The Danish group has raised its storage capacity to 18 weeks of insulin, and "we have booked cool airline transport so if we go short we have insured that we can fly in" additional quantities, he added.
 
Amid heightened uncertainty over what will happen if and when Britain does finally leave the EU, stocks of essential medicines are being watched carefully by manufacturers, distributors and patients. 
 
Britain counts 3.7 million diabetics, including May, and Novo Nordisk supplies more than half the nation's needs.
 
Insulin is a hormone normally produced by the pancreas that regulates how bodies use carbohydrates found in certain kinds of food. Diabetics cannot produce sufficient levels of insulin themselves and are thus dependent on commercially manufactured supplements.
 
Novo Nordisk has no plans to launch production in Britain, Jørgensen said, but it does have an important research facility at Oxford that employs foreign staff who will be concerned by post-Brexit immigration policies.
 
He noted that "for the UK to stay a powerhouse in terms of research, the UK government needs to make sure people can get in and out."
 
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