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Monday, February 11, 2008

Another Letdown in Pharmaceutical Development

The promise of needle-free insulin dosing was supposed to give diabetics a new sense of freedom. No more painful injections. No more refrigeration for specialty insulins. No more hassle...

Out comes the Exubera inhaler. This bulky "advance" in insulin delivery fell flat. I had one patient try it and he never got a refill. He chose to go back to the handy dandy needle. Apparently the bulky inhaler was the fatal flaw. He didn't like having to haul the device to use right before eating, especially in public. It made him feel like people were staring at him like he had a plague.

The stigma from a big inhaler was apparently greater than giving yourself an injection.

Beyond bulk is cost. The large box of blister packs is expensive. Many times the copay would be double that of insulin, if it was covered at all. Perhaps this device needs to be redesigned. I am not sure if the design was based on the "No CFC's in inhalers by the end of 2010" or not.

It was so bad that ALL of our Exubera stock has expired. As I send it back for salvage credit my only thought is "Wow, what a disappointment."


Dustin said...

Yes, Exubera was definitely a huge disappointment. Not only was it expensive and bulky, but its use was complicated and it carried too many precautions and contraindications. Pfizer spent way too much money advertising on this product, only to have it fail in no time. Even though patients (and doctors) dread SQ insulin therapy and put it off as long as possible, I think they eventually realize that injectable insulin isn't really all that bad, especially with advances in long-acting basal and rapid insulin analogs. I knew as soon as this product came to the market that it would not last too long.

DanTech said...

You forgot about finding a place to store that HUGE box. The thing was about 16" x 10" and it only contained ONE inhaler.

We never sold it, and we sent it back before it was expired.

Big 'N Tasty RPH said...

Maybe they could retrofit all those huge inhalers for inhaled viagra. "My inhaler is bigger than yours and so is my wiener!"