DTB Criticizes Withdrawal of Diabetes Product Used By Thousands

by VR Sreeraman on  November 2, 2010 at 3:12 PM Diabetes News   - G J E 4
A letter from the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin, published in today's Daily Telegraph, deplores the axing by Novo Nordisk of an insulin product, currently used by an estimated 90,000 diabetics in the UK.
 DTB Criticizes Withdrawal of Diabetes Product Used By Thousands
DTB Criticizes Withdrawal of Diabetes Product Used By Thousands

The letter, which has the backing of several leading specialists and the Insulin Dependent Diabetes Trust, calls on manufacturer Novo Nordisk to reverse its decision to withdraw Mixtard 30 from sale by the end of this year.

The letter's content echoes the views of more than 1,000 people, including clinicians and patients, who have so far signed DTB's petition in protest at the drug company's plans, which were announced in June.

The signatories argue that the move will "adversely affect the wellbeing of many people with diabetes and add millions to NHS costs."

Mixtard 30 is a biphasic human insulin, which is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) as a treatment of choice for people with diabetes who are dependent on insulin.

Analogue forms of insulin, which the company also make and promote as replacements for Mixtard 30, "are neither more effective nor safer," says the letter.

They are also much more expensive. A straight switch from Mixtard 30 to one of these alternatives - NovoMix 30 - for all patients in England alone will add an estimated £9 million to the NHS drugs bill.

And that figure does not take account of other added cost pressures, warns the letter. These include the need to review many thousands of patients to switch treatment, some of whom will need many months to become well established on an alternative insulin.

Many patients with eyesight and manual dexterity problems may find it very difficult to make the switch without becoming dependent on other people, as Mixtard 30 is available in an ergonomically designed device, it says.

"We are alarmed by Novo Nordisk's attitude to people with diabetes who rely on Mixtard 30. We urge the company to reverse a decision that is simply not in the interests of patients, healthcare professionals or the NHS," concludes the letter.

Source: BMJ

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