Bovine insulin to be discontinued
People who rely on beef (bovine) insulin are being warned it is being discontinued, although, importantly, pork insulin will still be available.
Wockhardt UK, the company that makes the product, said due to “global bovine insulin raw material unavailability” the company has been left with “no choice but to discontinue the Hypurin® Bovine insulin range”.
The Independent Diabetes Trust (IDDT), which was set up to fight for the continuation of animal insulin, has issued a letter to all its members about the issue.
The charity’s co-chair Jenny Hirst said: “We have always promised that we would let our members using insulin know as soon as we had any news on future supplies, hence this letter.
“This week, Wockhardt UK has had to announce that the company is discontinuing supplies of beef insulin. This is due to worldwide unavailability of the raw materials to make it. They apologise for what this means to people using beef insulin but the situation is beyond their control, indeed, beyond anyone’s control.
“In fact, only a very small number of people are using beef insulin and we are thankful that Wockhardt has continued manufacture for this very small market.”
Ms Hirst said she had spoken with the company’s managing director who wanted to reassure people that “supplies of pork insulin are secure for years to come”.
She added: “The Trustees and I are very sorry for the people this affects but we cannot fight the impossible – the reality is that the raw materials are not available anywhere in the world.
“Again I stress that this discontinuation only affects beef insulin, so people taking pork insulin or any of the genetically engineered human and analogue insulins need have no fears about supplies.”
People who use bovine insulin are now being told that residual stocks will be carefully managed to ensure product remains available for patients for as long as possible.
Those who currently use any Hypurin® Bovine Insulin are being urged to contact their healthcare professional so appropriate changes can be made to the person’s insulin therapy.
It has been estimated that Hypurin® Bovine Isophane 3ml cartridges may expire as soon as December 2017 but the expiration date for 10ml vials of Hypurin® Bovine PZI may not be until August 2019.
Monthly updates will be posted on the Wockhardt UK website.