Yesterday, someone posted a link on TuDiabetes about an Apidra shortage in the UK and Finland. Today, Manny posted a link from Sanofi Aventis that the Apidra shortage is also hitting the US. The shortage is apparently only for SoloSTAR pens and not the vials.
I will post part of their notice below along with the link to the full notice, but I have a couple comments to make here first. A lot of us use pens as opposed to vials because a vial is only supposed to last about 30 days. Unfortunately with Apidra, that is not the case. I previously wrote about all the wasted Apidra I have had to toss because of both vials and pens going bad in a week to ten days. You can read that article here. As I wrote in the original article, I found another blogger that was having the same problem with Apidra. You can read that article on Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Low here.
The dying early seems to be very hit or miss with Apidra – some of it does, some of it doesn’t. If I have a pen that actually doesn’t go bad, I can get two weeks out of one pen. One pen is 300 ml of Apidra. That means that I use about 600 mls of Apidra per month. One vial is 1000 ml and is supposed to last 30 days. I would only use about 60% of one vial before having to toss it. That is ASSUMING that it actually lasted the full 30 days. My experience is that it doesn’t last two weeks let alone 30 days. During the eight months that I pumped, I rarely was able to use a full vial before having to toss it. The same goes with pens that are only opened for two weeks at most.
Switching to a vial with Apidra is NOT an option for me. I have already wasted too much Apidra in both pens and vials. At least when I was pumping and using the vials, I was using the Apidra as both basal and bolus and used more. I am doing MDI now and using Levemir as my basal insulin. I am not about to ask my insurance company to pay for 3-4 vials of insulin when 40% of just one of those vials would have to be tossed even if it did not go bad early. Sorry Sanofi Aventis, but I will not do that.
I have put up with the waste so far because Apidra is a really good insulin, when it doesn’t die early. Out of the fast acting insulins currently on the market, it has the shortest duration for me. With gastroparesis, it is necessary to stack insulin to try and match up insulin with digestion. I take a lot of small shots of Apidra throughout my day as my meals digest. Both Humalog and Novolog hang around for a lot longer for me, so stacking doesn’t work very well with those insulins for me. Now when I go to refill my Apidra SoloSTAR pens and can’t get anymore, my control has been thrown out the window. Thank you Sanofi Aventis!
I guess you can say that I am not real happy with Sanofi Aventis at the moment. I am having flashbacks to what Abbott Diabetes Care did with the Navigator. Do these companies producing medical stuff even understand that if we don’t have insulin, we die? Do they understand that if they kill off all their customers, their profit dies also?
Here is the first part of the notice from Sanofi Aventis and you can read the remainder here:
Important information: Temporary shortage of the Apidra® SoloSTAR®
(insulin glulisine [rDNA origin] injection) pen
This is to inform you of a temporary shortage of Apidra® SoloSTAR® pens. The shortage is due to a technical incident that occurred at the Sanofi manufacturing site in Frankfurt, Germany, which has led to a temporary interruption in production. In compliance with Good Manufacturing Practices, Sanofi is currently making every effort to resolve the issue. Following stringent quality tests, we expect to achieve normal supply levels by the first quarter of 2012. All Apidra® SoloSTAR® product currently available is safe to use. No other Sanofi insulin products, eg, Lantus® (insulin glargine [rDNA origin] injection) are affected.
Note: Apidra® vials are still available and are unaffected by this event.
If you are currently using the Apidra® SoloSTAR® pen, talk to your
healthcare provider about temporarily switching to Apidra® vials