ELITE Marketing Team The Saxenda Market Access Team of Novo Nordisk

The Saxenda Market Access Team

Novo Nordisk


Susan Harris, Brand Director, Managed Markets

Tanya Hughes, Associate Director, Managed Markets Strategy



Targeting Employer Influencers

As Novo Nordisk was beginning to promote its new obesity product, Saxenda, the company had all of the usual targets in mind: Healthcare providers, patients, and traditional payers. But Susan Harris and Tanya Hughes realized one important influencer was missing: Employers. Strategic research revealed how much the success of an obesity product depends on employers actively opting-in for drug coverage. This was not a space Novo Nordisk traditionally targeted. However, following three advisory boards and countless interviews, brainstorms, and internal presentations later, almost 60% of the managed care obesity budget was allocated to the employer channel.

They developed an obesity-related brand just for employers: Novo Nordisk WORKS (Wellness and Obesity: Results, Knowledge, and Success) as well as a website completely dedicated to providing resources to employers (NovoNordiskWORKS.com). To ensure optimal reach, the target list wasn’t limited to just large employers—it also included employee benefit consultants, coalitions, worksite clinics, occupational health organizations, and even C-suite executives. Additionally, they developed a summit series called “The EBC Executive Exchange,” which highlighted the cost burden of obesity to employers and promotes the use of pharmacotherapy as a treatment option for obesity management.

Even with this new focus on employers, they still made sure to go after payers as well. All Novo Nordisk obesity account executives received a two-year parallel training program on both payer and employer channels. Plus, all of the marketing tools developed had both payer and employer versions. For example, they developed the Reimbursement Tool Kit, an extensive pull-through program to ensure that sales representatives knew how to communicate coverage, prior authorizations, and restrictions to their HCP customers—it quickly became the most requested resource among sales representatives. All of their initiatives led to a seamless rollout of Saxenda—the brand earned 58% coverage within three months of launch.

Currently, Susan and Tanya are in the process of developing a health economic outcomes research pilot to demonstrate the impact that obesity management can have in an employer group. And eventually, they plan to use the results to prove to payers that pharmacotherapy can offset the costs associated with obesity.


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