Threat to choice of insulin treatment

MPs are supporting the Insulin Dependent Diabetes Trust (IDDT) by raising an Early Day Motion demanding that the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) assesses the safety, clinical and cost effectiveness of all insulins.  This demand comes as a result of major insulin manufacturers announcing that they intend to discontinue the production of natural animal insulins and some synthetic human insulins.

IDDT, an independent charity, has been campaigning since the early 1990s for patients to be able to choose which insulin is best suited for them.  Some patients cannot control their diabetes on synthetic insulins so need to be able to obtain alternatives.  

Jenny Hirst, co-chair of IDDT said today, “ Our members are really concerned that the insulin manufacturers, particularly Novo Nordisk, are intending to manufacture only the lucrative insulin analogues.  At a time when patient choice is high on the political agenda, and the long-term safety of analogues is still unknown, we are asking for NICE to step in and carry out a comprehensive assessment of the safety, clinical and cost effectiveness of all insulins.”

To date the Early Day Motion has 40 signatories.  One of its sponsors - Sandra Gidley, MP - who as a pharmacist knows only too well how difficult it is for patients to control their diabetes - speaking today, commented, "Living with diabetes is not always simple and straightforward and some people have difficulty finding a human insulin that suits them. Some people find that their condition is, quite simply, much better controlled with animal insulins. The government, who claims to support choice, should be doing all it can to ensure that the widest range of insulins is available as this will not only help patients but, in the long term, save the NHS money.”

IDDT members are calling on their MPs to support this EDM so that people with diabetes will continue to have a choice of insulins appropriate for their specific needs.
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Notes to Editors

Early Day Motion
Threat to supply of animal insulins

That this House congratulates Wockhardt Pharmaceuticals on the expansion of production facilities for animal insulins to cope with increased demand as a result of Novo Nordisk Pharmaceutical's discontinuation of their pork insulin and thanks the Minister of State, the Honourable Member for Leigh, for his Department's role in ensuring that animal insulins continue to be available for those people who need them, but regrets that Novo Nordisk Pharmaceutical has begun a systematic discontinuation of their synthetic 'human' insulin products in favour of insulin analogues further reducing patient and physician choice; expresses grave reservations that many patients are being transferred to insulin analogues before their long-term safety has been established and before studies recommended by the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medical Products have been carried out to investigate the potential for carcinogenic effects of insulin analogues; and therefore requests that the Secretary of State for Health asks NICE to assess the safety, clinical and cost effectiveness of all insulins to provide patients and clinicians with the necessary information to make informed treatment choices.

The Insulin Dependent Diabetes Trust is a registered charity and is concerned with listening to the needs of people who live with diabetes, understanding those needs and doing its utmost to offer help and support. or email
Telephone: 01604 622837

For further press information please contact:
Veronica Wray
Telephone: 020 8568 8546 or 07710 624454

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