No Empty Shelves

Addressing the barriers to access to affordable essential medicines and technologies for diabetes in low- and middle-income countries.
Global NGOs 1

The aim of the No Empty Shelves partnership between PATH and Novo Nordisk has been to address the barriers to access to affordable essential medicines and technologies (EMTs) for diabetes in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).


Strengthen the global evidence base on availability of affordable essential medicines and technologies for diabetes in LMICs.

Raise awareness of major barriers to availability of affordable diabetes EMTs.

Build a network of key stakeholders committed to taking action to increase the availability of affordable EMTs for diabetes and other NCDs

Results and milestones


The findings of No Empty Shelves clearly confirm that technologies – blood glucose monitoring (BGM) and syringes – and not insulin are the least affordable amongst the EMTs surveyed. Availability is very low in the public sectors, rural areas, and lower levels of care. The causes are various – from procurement issues that can impact supply to taxes and unregulated mark-ups that drive up costs.


  • A comprehensive and peer-reviewed list of 22 EMTs necessary to diagnose and treat diabetes and its common comorbidities
  • A global landscape report “Diabetes Supplies: Are they there when needed?” published by PATH in 2015.
  • Two comprehensive country assessments of the supply chain, availability and affordability of said medicines and products in Kenya and Senegal – manuscripts pending approval for publishing in peer-reviewed journal
  • A global Call to Action calling for access, availability, and affordability of essential medicines and technologies for noncommunicable diseases.
  • The groundwork for establishing a cross-disciplinary coalition to increase access to essential medicines and technologies for NCDs. The result of this groundwork is the global Coalition for Access to NCD Medicines and Products, launched in September 2017 in New York, and of which Novo Nordisk is a founding member. See more about the Coalition here.
Geographic Reach
  • Global Commitment
Disease Area
  • Non-communicable diseases
See Disease Areas
Target Population
  • People with low incomes
SGDs the partnership contributes to
SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being
  1. 3.4: NCDs (including mental health)
  2. 3.8: Achieve universal health coverage
SDG 9: Industry Innovation and Infrastructure
SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities
SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals 
Partner organizations
Global NGOs