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Experts back sanofi-aventis' Lantus

Sanofi-aventis has published a statement from a panel of experts stating there is no established cancer risk linked to the use of the insulin Lantus

Sanofi-aventis has published a statement from a panel of experts stating there is no established cancer risk linked to the use of the insulin Lantus (glargine).

Following the publication of four epidemiological studies, drawing attention to the link between obesity, diabetes and cancer in the journal Diabetologia, sanofi-aventis assembled a board of international specialists in the field of endocrinology, oncology and epidemiology.

The board concluded that the four manuscripts had significant methodological limitations and shortcomings and provided inconsistent and inconclusive results over a potential link between using glargine and an increased risk of cancer.

When the reports were first published in the journal, shares in sanofi-aventis fell.

The European Medicines Agency (EMEA) has launched an investigation into the information published in Diabetologia. Based on the data available, the EMEA was unable to establish a link between Lantus and cancer but stated that studies required in-depth evaluation.

Results of a five-year study of Lantus versus NPH insulin on progression of retinopathy in patients with type 2 diabetes carried out by the French pharmaceutical company showed no retinopathy progression risk

Lantus is a key product for sanofi-aventis and, in 2008, generated sales of €2.6bn.

16th July 2009

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