Today's Wall Street Journal has a front page article
on Pfizer's decision to drop Exubera. It covers some of the history of Exubera development and also points out some of it's shortcomings
The Exubera device, which some compared unflatteringly to a bong for smoking marijuana, could also be embarrassing to use in public.
"I can teach someone how to use an insulin pen in five minutes, but it would take nearly an hour to teach a patient to use inhaled insulin," says Anastassios Pittas, an endocrinologist at Tufts-New England Medical Center.
The article also has a pointer to a (PDF) transcript
of the Pfizer conference call about its 3rd quarter earnings. The Exubera part starts on page 4 of the transcript. I'm glad to see Jeff Kindler, the Pfizer CEO say:
We remain committed to finding and developing new treatments for diabetes, which is an area of enormous unmet medical need. Our R&D portfolio in this field spans the width of the diabetes disease continuum, from genetic susceptibility at birth to the onset of devastating complications. This is also an important focus for business development. In addition, we will continue to closely monitor developments in medical practice and technology as they relate to inhalation therapies and other innovative delivery systems both for insulin and for other medicines.
Despite the problems with Exubera it was a novel treatment for diabetes that might have really helped people who fail to treat their diabetes because of their fear of injections.
And while most of us hope for and work towards a cure
for diabetes, it would be nice to have new treatment options while we're waiting.
The Wall Street Journal has an excellent health blog
and their article today on Exubera
had this funny photo from Pharma Giles
which I reproduce below without permission.
Labels: cure, exubera, options, pfizer
Pfizer drops Exubera insulin inhaler
You probably have seen the news on this from other blogs. The first I read about it today was on Scott Strumello's blog
is the inhaled insulin that Pfizer has been has been working hard to get people with diabetes to use. And I've always believed this would be a hard sell. There's not enough information about the long term consequences of inhaling this very new drug. And the inhaler itself has been commonly referred to as a bong
, almost from the day it was released. This is one case where getting a true design team in to think about making something acceptable for most users would have helped a lot
Anyway, there's a lot of news out there about this cancellation and I wanted to point out some of them. The Wall Street Journal Health Blog
has several interesting posts:
And Business Week published the article Pfizer's Exubera Flop
Despite what I thought about the delivery mechanism, I did like the idea of a novel form of diabetes treatment. We're treating diabetes in the same way that Banting and Best
did in the 1920s. Insulin is now purer and our dosing is more accurate, but otherwise not much has changed (except for Symlin
I do hope that this doesn't discourage drug makers from looking at other ways to help us treat and manage our diabetes. It would be a terrible shame if this decision by Pfizer had that kind of an effect.
Labels: exubera, inhaler, insulin, pfizer