What will Novo Nordisk do about Paula Deen?
Will the company drop the Queen of Southern Cuisine because of new allegations of offensive remarks?
Novo Nordisk (NVO) is having Paula Deen trouble again. And this time it may not be as easy to explain away.
The company suffered a backlash less than two months ago for hiring the Southern belle as the public face of its new online program, Diabetes in a New Light. And just when the controversy was calming down, Deen and her brother were accused last week of racial and sexual harassment and abusive treatment by a former employee, Lisa Jackson.
Deen and her lawyers adamantly deny the charges, saying Jackson has pledged to ruin Deen's reputation if not paid a large sum of money. But the explosive behavior mentioned in the suit -- including the use of the N-word and requiring black employees to use a separate bathroom at a restaurant co-owned by Deen -- have done plenty of damage already, even if they turn out to be exaggerated or fabricated.
It's unclear what impact the latest Deen scandal will have on Novo Nordisk. But the celebrity chef is clearly overshadowing some of the work at one of the largest diabetes-treatment companies in the world.
A growing market
Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes, with Type 2 diabetes accounting for 90% to 95% of cases, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 84% take insulin and/or oral medication. The disease, which is the seventh-leading cause of death in the U.S., costs $174 billion annually. By 2050, it is projected a third of Americans could have diabetes.
In 2009, the U.S. diabetes market grew 17% from the year before, reaching $14.9 billion, according to data from health care information company IMS Health. With such growth, it's no wonder pharmaceuticals companies are eager to tap the market, with Novo Nordisk -- the world's largest maker of insulin -- among the leaders.
Novo Nordisk's non-insulin injectable diabetes drug, Victoza, reached blockbuster status last year with sales jumping more than 150% to top $1 billion. Other drugmakers are developing treatments as well, and Victoza now has competition from the recently approved Bydureon, a once-weekly drug co-developed by Amylin Pharmaceuticals (AMLN) and Alkermes (ALKS). Victoza requires daily injections.
Novo Nordisk's stock has been on a roll recently, up about 22% this year and reaching new 52-week highs almost daily. It's not cheap, trading at 26 times trailing earnings. Of course, when you have a 45% to 50% of a global market that's expected to grow 9% a year, some would argue the valuation is warranted. The company certainly thinks so, as it just announced a share repurchase program.
The company has already taken so much flak for its choice of Deen as a public face. Sure, Deen has type 2 diabetes and uses Victoza for her disease. But Deen can also be easily crowned as the queen of uber-unhealthy cooking. She pretty much fries everything, and that's usually after already loading up on butter, lard, heavy cream and, you guessed it, sugar.
Since obesity is one of the causes of Type 2 diabetes, the public outrage was fierce. Deen was harshly criticized for keeping her diabetes a secret for three years while continuing to promote unhealthy cooking. She didn't disclose the disease, critics said, until she cemented the deal with Novo Nordisk. The matchup, to say the least, reeked like a windowless kitchen after frying some chicken. Can someone who fries cakes be a pitch person to fighting diabetes? Is it all good as long as you take the drug, people asked.
Deen has recently promised to lighten up her cooking, and she is likely doing her best to make the controversy disappear. So while some observers think the company may need to rethink its position on Deen amid the new lawsuit allegations, for now, Novo Nordisk appears to be standing by her.
I think its time that people start blaming themselves for being fat and quit blaming others. Paula is sharing her family recipes...and like she states, it can be changed to suit your own tastes. She does NOT tell you to LOAD UP ON BUTTER, SUGAR OR ANYTHING FOR THAT MATTER. She is not causing you to have Diabetes. Take responsibility for yourself. If you are going to blame Paula Deen for you having Diabetes, well then shouldn't you also blame McDonalds, Pizza Hut, KFC, Taco Bell and all the fast food restaurants and other celebrity chefs as well?!
Leave Paula Deen alone and let her continue to be a positive role-model for society. She is NOT the creator of Diabetes.
5 comments- none about the article!
I just watched Paula on the Oprah network. and between her black workers and thereatment she gave Oprah and Gayle, if this woman is a racist, so was Martin Luther King.
The lawsuit has to be a lie
Paula Deen's medical information is none of anyone's business, and she doesn't have to reveal anything to anyone if she doesn't want to. Stop blaming her because YOU are fat and YOU are unhealthy. Ever hear of personal responsibility?? Paula Deen is not and never has been a racist. This race thing is getting a little old, too. Sounds like the disgruntled former employee just wants money.
When you order a dessert at a restaurant, do you then accuse the cook of trying to kill you? Don't you know going in that the dessert contains sugar, fat and loads of calories and carbohydrates??
Give me a break! Paula Deen offers Southern cooking recipes and tips. How many of those we chose to cook and how often is up to us. It's called personal liberty and personal responsibility.
Ms. Deen doesn't owe the public the contents of her medical records either. I know loads of people who eat the kind of food Ms. Deen is famous for who DON'T have diabetes. It's up to us to be moderate in all things - - except common sense - a commodity in which our current "blame it all on someone else" culture seems to be deploringly deficit!
I am sick and tired of the people that bash Paula Deen. When you are diagnosed with diabetes it takes some getting used to, I know because my wife has fought this for years. If you watch the cooking shows on the food network and Rachel Ray on ABC then you know Paula is not the only one that cook the extra large fattening stuff, almost all of the chefs do. Also what about the Queen of Salt, when she cooks she uses salt by the handfulls. Everything is about moderation and portion control and there are ways to make every receipe healthy.
Even though Paula cooks the way she does, she obviously doesn't eat that way all the time. Otherwise, she would be as big as Sam Choy and Art Smith got. They've both lost weight and so has Paula. I read that she's dropped 2 pant sizes.
Besides, diet is only one factor in who gets diabetes. I am not as heavy as my brother and eat healthier than he does but I have diabetes and he doesn't.
I personally don't believe the accusations. This is only one person coming forward after how many years that Paula has been in business?
Bobby Deen has a new show on the Food Network called "Not My Momma's Meals". He takes some of Paula's most fattening recipes and drastically cuts the fat and calories.
truthhurts402: I believe that Jamie and Bobby Deen run one of Paula's restaurants. They work for her but are not "dependant" on her like she's supporting them or something. Plus, they do their own work for the Food Network.
My grandparents (and their parents before them) ate this stuff, especially at Sunday dinner, and they were skinny and healthy. It was their normal farm exercise, and the healthy food (no trans-fats, or other chemo-crap additives). I don't know anything about Bubba, I wasn't there, so we'll leave that to the courts. Regardless, Paula's recipes are delicious. If we all could get off our butts and walk every day, excluding chemicals (and who knows, GMO foods!), maybe we could return to those good old days!
WHEN I WAS A KID EVERYONE ATE FOOD FRIED IN LARD, THE BEST PIE CRUSTS ARE MADE WITH LARD. WE ATE BACON, EGGS, GRAVIES AND ALL THAT "UNHEALTHY" STUFF. WHY IS THAT HARDLY ANYONE GOT CANCER BACK THEN AND DIABETES WAS ALSO PRETTY RARE. MANY DISEASES WE HAVE NOW WEREN'T HEARD OF THEN. WE DIDN'T DO PROPER EXERCISES EITHER....WE WERE BUSY RUNNING ALL OVER THE PLACE OUTSIDE WITH WAGONS, SCOOTERS, SKATES AND PLAYING GAMES LIKE TAG. MOMS HAD TO HANG OUT LAUNDRY, IRON EVERYTHING, CLEAN THE HOUSE AND ALL THAT NON-STOP STUFF IT TOOK TO RUN A HOME. WHO NEEDED EXERCISE??
NOWADAYS PEOPLE EAT "ORGANIC" OR "NATURAL" FOODS....SO DID WE BUT ORGANIC AND NATURAL WASN'T SO DOCTORED UP. OUR MILK DIDN'T HAVE HORMONES. IF YOU PUT MARGARINE OUTSIDE AND JUST LEAVE IT, NOTHING WILL HAPPEN, INSECTS DON'T EAT IT BECAUSE THERE IS NOTHING BUT CHEMICALS IN IT. TRY IT. I THINK WE NEED TO GET BACK TO THE TIMES WHEN PEOPLE ATE REAL FOOD AND HAD BUSY ENOUGH LIVES THAT THERE WAS NO TIME FOR EXERCISE.
THE RECENT GENERATIONS SPEND MOST OF THEIR TIME SITTING IN FRONT OF A COMPUTER, TEXT MESSAGING ETC. ETC. CASES OF DIABETES IS OVER THE TOP AND EVERYONE EITHER HAD CANCER OR KNOWS SOMEONE WHO DID. GO FIGURE! TRY TO BUY A MAGAZINE WITHOUT SOME NEW DIET ON IT. I COULD WRITE REAMS BUT, JUST TRYING TO MAKE A POINT. I DOUBT PAULA DEEN'S COOKING HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT. IN FACT, IT'S HEALTHIER THAN YOU THINK.
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
As geopolitical tensions threaten to spin out of control, investors are wondering how best to position their portfolios for the global turmoil.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.
Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.
Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.