Study raises debate over insulin sold to diabetics

TRENTON, N.J. — Preliminary research suggesting that some diabetes patients might be injecting medicine that has partially disintegrated is causing concern even as serious questions are raised about the research itself.

 

The study author, a pharmacist, bought vials of insulin at a number of pharmacies and found that on average the vials had less than half of what was listed on the label and none met a minimum standard.

The study tested just 18 vials of insulin – far too few to be definitive – and questions have been raised about the methods used to test the insulin. Insulin makers, patient advocate groups and diabetes experts say if the findings were accurate, diabetes patients would be getting sick.

But given potentially serious implications for millions of diabetics, many of these groups are now trying to reassure patients. All say that patients should continue taking their insulin.

The groups are discussing how to quickly mount a major study that would ease fears by involving multiple research labs, different testing methods and many more samples.

“We want to make sure the study, when completed, will be well accepted,” said Dr. William Cefalu, the American Diabetes Association’s chief scientific officer.

 

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