"It shed light on questions we didn't think we could get answers to."
Updated: Sep 20
Novo Nordisk is one of the companies at the forefront of developing new drug treatments for Obesity and they commissioned Opticom in the spring of 2022 to conduct a series of in-depth interviews with key people in Sweden with insight into the current and future of Obesity care.
Henrik Allard Brorsson works with market access and public affairs at Novo Nordisk and describes the purpose of the interviews as gaining a deeper understanding of decision-makers' attitudes towards the disease and the extent to which knowledge of the costs of the disease, both in terms of human suffering and money spent, is widespread.
"The description is about the fact that for many years obesity has perhaps been a bit questioned as a disease area - is it a disease or not? And we who then have molecules researched to treat weight problems are curious to know if treatment for obesity will be accepted at some point?"
Novo Nordisk has commissioned Opticom for similar studies in other disease areas, but for him it was the first time he had the privilege of being involved in an in-depth, qualitative interview study - all the way from the basic planning of the questions to the analysis of the results:
"I have not been faced with this opportunity before, that it was possible to get hold of these people and do interviews. So it's opened my eyes to something exciting."
He says that Opticom's interviews have contributed a lot of interesting insights into the reasoning of decision-makers in the field. The interviews have been able to shed light on a number of questions that they had hoped, but perhaps not really thought it would be possible to get comprehensive answers to.
"This will help us in our planning and in our actions, how we act. Certain statements and certain responses that we got from these respondents very clearly lead us forward, like in the subsidy application and in the way we discuss obesity public affairs-wise."
Obesity - morbid obesity - defined as a BMI (Body Mass Index) > 30, is one of the fastest growing diseases globally and has been recognised as a chronic disease by the WHO for some years. In Sweden, about half of the adult population can be defined as overweight and more than one seventh is estimated to be obese. The traditional way to radically affect weight loss is to surgically alter the size of the stomach. Several thousand such operations are performed each year in Sweden alone. Truly effective drug treatments have long been lacking for obesity but now things are starting to move in earnest, clinical trials for several new drugs have shown very promising results and in the UK, for example, the responsible authorities are talking about 'gamechangers' and will now subsidise obesity medicines.