Reviews and reports

Novo Nordisk discontinue some GM ‘human’ insulins

June 29th 2005

‘Human’ Actrapid no longer available in cartridges for pens [from October 2005]

Novo Nordisk brought forward the discontinuation of some GM ‘human’ insulins to October 2005.  However, by 2009, the discontinuation of ‘human’ insulin that concerns most people is ‘human’ Actrapid in cartridges for pens. This means that people who want to continue to use ‘human’ Actrapid are being ‘forced’ to use a 10ml vial and syringe.

Of course, the Novo Nordisk recommended alternative is that people change to the newer short-acting insulin analogue, NovoRapid. Under these circumstances, changing your insulin is not being done clinical reasons to benefit you but because Novo Nordisk has made yet another commercial decision and it is this commercial decision which is dictating your treatment – something that must be deplored!

There are alternatives, you do not have to change to insulin analogues
If you do not want to change to GM analogue insulins but want to continue using pens for injection, then there are alternatives from other manufacturers. You should discuss with your doctor or health professional. The alternatives are:

  • Humulin S made by Eli Lilly – a human insulin available in cartridges.
  • Hypurin Porcine Neutral made by Wockhardt UK under the name of CP Pharmaceuticals – a short-acting natural pork insulin available in cartridges.

Changing insulin therapy
Novo Nordisk state that ‘any change of insulin therapy should be carried out by a suitably experienced healthcare professional’ . This is particularly so when changing to insulin analogues because they have a different speed of onset, peak of action and different duration of action from both ‘human’ and animal insulins.