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UN Summit tackles chronic disease threat

World leaders, healthcare organisations and the pharmaceutical industry are debating how to prevent and control the global threat of non-communicable diseases at a UN Summit in New York City, US

World leaders, healthcare organisations and the pharmaceutical industry are debating how to prevent and control the global threat of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) at a UN Summit in New York City, US.

Held from September 19 to 20, the Summit is scheduled to focus on developmental and other challenges and social and economic impacts regarding chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease, particularly for developing countries.

These conditions account for over 63 per cent of deaths in the world today, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), with NCDs killing nine million people under 60 every year.

'Real action' from the UN on tackling chronic diseases was demanded by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) conference last week, with new figures suggesting the number of people living with diabetes in across the world in 2011 has reached 366 million.

A similar statement was made concerning the treatment and prevention of cancer by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) at its meeting in June, 2011.

Pharmaceutical companies attending the summit include Denmark-based diabetes specialists Novo Nordisk.

The company's CEO, Lars Rebien Sørensen said: "I hope that this UN Summit holds the potential for a possible breakthrough – one that could usher in a higher prioritisation of diabetes and shift the world's overall response to NCDs. This could substantially increase resources for NCDs and save millions from premature death and debilitating health complications."

Novo Nordisk chief medical officer, Alan C Moses, spoke to PMLiVE last week at the EASD meeting, where he described the global "health disaster" of diabetes.

Previously in September, Eli Lilly & Company announced the launch of the Lilly NCD Partnership – a $30m commitment over five years to identify new models of patient care that increase treatment access and improve outcomes for underserved populations. The partnership will initially focus on improving diabetes care in in targeted communities in Brazil, India, Mexico and South Africa.

Follow the UN Summit live via webstream:

19th September 2011

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