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Discontinuation of diabetes medication products

Position statement

Where a diabetes treatment option is being discontinued, people who are dependent on that treatment should continue to have access to it, or to an alternative which is viable for them, without extraordinary measures (financial or otherwise) being borne by the person with diabetes.

Where a pharmaceutical company declares its intent to discontinue a safe and effective diabetes product for which there is still demand, the pharmaceutical company and the federal government should work together to ensure appropriate solutions are readily available for those who find that they are unable to make the transition.

Consumers and health professionals should have access to a network of medical expertise to assist with the transition process when a product for which there is still demand is discontinued.

Background and rationale

As new diabetes-related drugs are developed and marketed, manufacturers are correspondingly discontinuing old product lines. For example, with the introduction of human/genetic insulin, the production of most animal insulin was discontinued. This can be a concern for people who have relied on a specific medication or product over the course of many years. Although medical evidence may suggest that the new product is actually more efficacious, the consumer who is doing well on a particular drug can find its discontinuation devastating.

People with diabetes have a right to access medication or other treatment options with sound medical and clinical evidence of providing effective treatment of diabetes and its complications. The fact that most people with diabetes are responsible for their own primary care makes personal perceptions and experiences even more important.

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