Shortage of diabetes drug cartridges ends

Wed, 16 Aug 2006
Eli Lilly and co, in conjunction with Amylin Pharmaceuticals, have lifted restrictions on their latest diabetes drug. A cartridge shortage has forced the two companies to ask doctors to limit the number of patients they start out on courses of the drug.

Byetta, the notorious diabetes drug that ranks weight loss as a side effect, is now back in full distribution, after two months of supply problems. The companies were forced to attempt to slow the market down during April and May by ending free samples and discount vouchers. Internal data apparently showed that the cartridge supplier simply has not been able to keep up with demand.

A second company, Indianopolis-based Baxter Pharmaceutical Solutions, have been brought on board as a second supplier of cartridges. Since the drug was launched in June 2005, over a million prescriptions have been written.

The news has prompted a share leap for Amylin. Despite some sales not being recouped, the hiccup is not expected to damage the companies’ fortunes. Experts in the industry talk of a ‘pent-up’ demand for Byetta.
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