When human insulin first appeared on the market it was thought to be a "special" insulin and the beef/pork insulin that I had taken for years was termed "standard" insulin. A lot has changed since those days. What was once thought to be the standard is now in danger of being pulled from the market.
The American Diabetes Association recognizes patients' concerns with the discontinuation of mixed beef/pork insulin production in the United States. Patients need and deserve adequate education and assistance as they switch to either pure pork or human insulin. We strongly urge insulin-producing companies to recognize these concerns as well, and take steps necessary to give providers the tools to help their patients make this transition.
(Our) survey results indicate that for some people, changing insulins has a negative impact on their health, well-being and quality of life. People need more information as to the reasons for changing their insulin and they need to have the choice. They need the support of their physicians and their diabetes health care teams during this time of change-over. The (Canadian) National Advocacy Committee is committed to advocating for the continuation of beef/pork insulins for those whose health, well-being or quality of life will be affected by the change.
There is good news for people in the U.K. who are unsatisfied with the lack of animal insulins. CP Pharmaceuticals of Wrexham, England is now producing beef and pork insulins in cartridges for use with a free pen injection device as well as the normal 10 ml vials.
How do you get a giant pharmaceutical company to listen? Make a lot of noise, say the founders of three patient advocate groups that formed when animal insulins were pulled from the market in Europe and North America.
There has been much debate in recent years surrounding the use of animal vs. human insulin. Since the introduction of human insulin over 10 years ago, the reputation of animal insulin has taken a beating. Critics have derided it as an antiquated, impure and a less desirable alternative, and in many countries it has been taken off the market completely. This trend, however, may be unwarranted and depriving some people of an insulin which suits them best. New research is answering many questions about this controversy.
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