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Last Updated: Friday, 4 August 2006, 11:58 GMT 12:58 UK
Inhaled insulin given UK launch
Diabetes injection
Many people with diabetes must have regular shots of insulin
Insulin which can be inhaled rather than injected has been launched in the UK by drug company Pfizer.

But availability of Exubera on the NHS has been reserved for people with a proven needle phobia or people who have severe trouble injecting.

Diabetes UK has said the drug is "one of the biggest medical advances since the discovery of insulin".

Pfizer, which has UK bases in Kent and Surrey, said the drug had "significant support from doctors and patients".

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) has said the drug, for both Type 1 and 2 diabetes, is not cost-effective on the NHS.

'Patient's decision'

Simon O'Neill, spokesman for Diabetes UK, said the drug could "improve the quality of life of many people with diabetes".

He also said it had the potential to reduce the risk of complications in those who delayed moving on to insulin in an attempt to avoid injecting.

He added: "Diabetes UK strongly feels that the decision to prescribe Exubera should lie with the person with diabetes and his or her diabetes specialist and that this decision should not be based on cost."

Exubera for Type 1 and 2 diabetes costs 1,100 per person per year but patients would still need injections at night.

Caution for inhaled insulin drug
24 Feb 06 |  England
Diabetes inhaler given approval
27 Jan 06 |  Health


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