Today’s insulin treatments for people with diabetes are making the condition worse for some patients, it is claimed today. Manufacturers are taking long-established products off the market and replacing them with more expensive new alternatives., a UK based diabetes charity claims that long-term diabetics are finding their bodies do not always adjust to the substitutes. Its chief executive, Douglas Smallwood, says heavy promotion of the new drugs together with the withdrawal of old products is denying people a choice.
The charity says regulators of the safety and efficiency of new treatments should only approve them if existing treatments remain available. The plea follows the withdrawal of insulin treatments used by more than 30,000 people with diabetes.
However, leading manufacturer Novo Nordisk has expressed surprise that Diabetes UK “should want to see the use of these products prolonged”. About 500,000 Britons are thought to require insulin. Of those, 350,000 have type 1 diabetes, which means they are dependent on hormone treatment so that their bodies can convert sugar into energy and regulate blood sugar levels. Another 150,000 with type 2 diabetes use it to manage their condition more effectively.
Insulin treatments were first developed in the 1920s. Early treatments were cleaned-up animal alternatives, originally beef and later highly purified pork insulin. But in the early 1980s, genetically modified “human” insulin was introduced.

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