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Inhaled insulin – ‘transition’ programme put in place

Following talks with Diabetes UK, Pfizer has announced that it is putting in place an extended ‘transition’ programme to supply Exubera (inhaled insulin) for a up to 12 further months, depending on existing stock levels and expiry dates. 

The product will be officially withdrawn from the market from 16 January 2008, but it is hoped that this programme will help some people switch back other a longer period to other forms of treatment and that it will also allow enough time for another pharmaceutical company to pick up the production of inhaled insulin.

Diabetes UK had initiated talks with Pfizer regarding the withdrawal of the product and welcomes the initiative. Diabetes UK also wants to see a long-term solution put in place and will contact a variety of pharmaceutical companies in the UK and the US to encourage them to consider taking over the manufacturing of inhaled insulin.

"Pfizer’s decision to put in place a transition programme is helpful," said Simon O’Neill, Director of Care, Information and Advocacy Services at Diabetes UK.

"We now want to see another pharmaceutical company take on the production of inhaled insulin. It is crucial that people with diabetes have access to a variety of treatments to ensure that they can self-manage their condition effectively.”

To access the transition programme the patient's Diabetologist will have to register them with Pfizer’s INH (inhaled) Customer Care Centre and then prescribe them with a six-month supply of Exubera. The INH centre will then send the stock to the hospital pharmacist who will dispense it to the patient. Replacement devices (inhalers) will also be available from the centre.

The extended programme is only available to those people already on Exubera. No new patients will be considered.

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