Actraphane – are patients really at the centre of care?

19th January, 2011

Diabetes charity questions whether patients really are at the centre of care

In June 2010, when 90,000 people with diabetes were given 6 months notice that the type of insulin they had been successfully using, Mixtard 30, was to be discontinued by the manufacturer, Novo Nordisk, the Insulin Dependent Diabetes Trust [IDDT] wrote to the Secretary of State for Health, Mr Andrew Lansley, asking for his help.

IDDT highlighted the effects of this change of insulin and injection device on the health and wellbeing of 90,000 people, the pressure only six months notice would put on the NHS staff and the present and future increased costs to the NHS incurred by the change and the ongoing monitoring of those affected.

Jenny Hirst, Co-chair of IDDT comments, “We were surprised that Mr Lansley’s response showed so little understanding of the effects this withdrawal would have on patients but also on the NHS. He showed an unwillingness to take any action on behalf of patients, especially the most vulnerable groups – those with visual impairment and manual dexterity problems who, as a result of this withdrawal would lose the injection device that enabled them to self-inject and maintain their independence“.

IDDT investigated the situation further and discovered from the MHRA , the government’s own regulatory agency, that a similar or near identical insulin made by Novo Nordisk, Actraphane, is licensed in the UK and can be prescribed and dispensed under the NHS. The same injection devices are available as for Mixtard 30 and patients could then simply have been changed to Actraphane and continued to use the same injection device.

Jenny Hirst added, “Novo Nordisk may have commercial reasons for withholding this information, but patients have been badly let down by Mr Lansley and his Department. The failure to inform patients, and health professionals, that Actraphane is licensed in the UK has denied patients the informed choice of treatment to which they are entitled. Government policy of ‘patients being at the centre of care’ appears to have been ignored for 90,000 people with diabetes“.

IDDT has informed members of the availability of Actraphane and the availability of the injection device for people with visual impairment and manual dexterity difficulties. However, the Department of Health has failed to provide patients with a fully informed choice of treatment options and failed to put them at the centre of care.

For further information contact:

Jenny Hirst
Tel 01604 622837
or e-mail [email protected]

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