Insuman Basal, Comb 25 cartridges and prefilled pens are likely to be in short supply for the next eight months, according to the manufacturers Sanofi. These insulins are used by nearly 50,000 people in the UK.
Although there will be some stock in the supply chain, NHS health professionals have been told that by Sanofi that would be a ‘possible supply shortage in the United Kingdom of some Insuman presentations (recombinant human insulin) from 1 December 2015 due to limited capacity at the manufacturing site and that supply is expected to return to normal in July 2016’. They warn that replacement with alternative insulin formulations is needed to avoid hyperglycaemia and serious complications.
The four specific products affected are:
- Insuman Basal 100 IU/mL and Insuman Comb 25 100 IU/mL cartridges
- Insuman Basal Solostar 100 IU/mL and Insuman Comb 25 Solostar pre-filled pens.
The nearest alternative insulins are as follows:
- For patients on Insuman Basal preparations the alternative human insulins are Humulin I and Insulatard,
- For those on Comb 25 products can be switched to Humulin M3.
Sanofi have said that it is difficult to estimate how many people will be affected but GP leaders have said that people cannot run out of insulin so GP practices need to get on and switch patients to an alternative insulin. If you are using these insulins, you need to discuss alternatives with your GPO practice.