CEO Deborah Dunsire, Lundbeck, has lived in the Boston area for nearly 20 years and told American Congress members in her talk that she still considers herself American and is still learning how to cycle Denmark. In her talk, she praised the Danish Medicines Agency, led by Thomas Senderovitz who joined her in the panel discussion.

Photo: Michael Stub
14.08.19 DIB News

28 US Congress members find inspiration in Denmark

28 US members of Congress and an entourage of 170 people from American companies sought inspiration in Denmark last week. “Both Democrats and Republicans have been extremely receptive to everything from data protection to trade policy,” says Director Thomas Bustrup, DI.

The Danish pharmaceutical group Lundbeck generates more than 50 per cent of its turnover in the American market. It was therefore natural for CEO Deborah Dunsire to join a panel discussion on 7 August at Industriens Hus with representatives from the US Congress.

“We just acquired a biotech company in California and are thereby strengthening our presence in the US. Naturally, we’re therefore also very interested in meeting with American politicians,” explains Deborah Dunsire, who has herself lived in the Boston area for nearly 20 years.

Focus on foundation ownership and government support

The discussion Deborah Dunsire participated in was part of the programme for 28 American members of Congress and a 170-person entourage consisting of business leaders from companies such as Walt Disney, Google and FedEx.

The subject of the discussion was mainly high medicine costs in the US, and the Lundbeck director had been asked to speak about how and why Denmark has been able to establish a “Medicon Valley” around Copenhagen. 

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We have politicians who prioritise the development of the life science sector Deborah Dunsire, CEO i Lundbeck

“We have politicians who prioritise the development of the life science sector. The new government is working on plans to increase deductions on research costs and to increase public health insurance. And on top of that, we have a world-class medicines agency,” said Deborah Dunsire.

She also highlighted the fact that many Danish pharmaceutical companies are owned by foundations.

“The majority of shares in companies such as Lundbeck, Novo Nordisk and Leo Pharma are owned by foundations. That ‘vaccinates’ companies against being taken over by others and against investments disappearing out of the country.”

The foundation that owns Lundbeck invests 80 million USD per year in pharmaceutical research in the neuroscience field.

“And because this is a field of research with a very high rate of failure, our ability to continue investing despite failed projects is hugely important,” said Deborah Dunsire.

Americans went far and wide

In addition to the pharmaceutical industry discussion, last Wednesday’s event at Industriens Hus also featured panels on future energy, infrastructure, education and integration. The delegation spent the rest of the week visiting Danish companies and learning about topics such as “The Danish Model”, GDPR and data security.

“The fact that the Ripon Society and the Franklin Center for Global Policy Exchange decided to hold their TransAtlantic Capital to Capital Exchange in Copenhagen this year is a major recognition of Denmark. At the Confederation of Danish Industry, we’re delighted to contribute to the dialogue between American stakeholders and the group of our members with American interests,” says Director Thomas Bustrup, the Confederation of Danish Industry.

He bid the delegation welcome upon arrival and has found that both the American Democrats and Republicans were extremely receptive to the input of Danish companies.

“Now we’re looking forward to welcoming President Trump to Denmark and hopefully creating better conditions for our members in the US,” says Thomas Bustrup.


”TransAtlantic Capital to Capital Exchange” 

The programme, known as the ”TransAtlantic Capital to Capital Exchange”, is organised by the Franklin Center and the Ripon Society. It is organised once a year, and in 2018 the trip went to Paris.

The Franklin Center is an organisation without official political affiliation. Since 1978, the organisation has worked to promote and strengthen international cooperation between the US and the rest of the world.

The Ripon Society is a centrist Republican (lobby) organisation that seeks to promote classic Republican thought/principle/policy.

The delegation consists of 28 American members of Congress from both the Democratic and Republican parties.

Corporate members of the delegation included representatives from the Walt Disney Company, VISA, Walgreens, Shell, General Motors, Facebook, Google and FedEx Corporation.

Jens Holst-Nielsen

Jens Holst-Nielsen

Director, International Trade and Market Development

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