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ADA: Novo says switching to Tresiba could reduce NHS costs

Real world data backs insulin’s ability to reduce hypoglycaemia in people with diabetes
Novo Nordisk headquarters

Novo Nordisk has published real world data that it says supports a switch to its new insulin Tresiba.

The company claims that UK patients with diabetes who started taking Tresiba (insulin degludec) after experiencing problems with Novo's own Levemir (insulin detemir) or Sanofi's Lantus (insulin glargine) reported reduced rates of the side effect hypoglycaemia, potentially reducing NHS costs.

The study was presented at the American Diabetes Association conference in San Francisco last weekend and assessed 35 NHS patients with type 1 diabetes and 16 with type 2 diabetes, each of whom had switched insulins to Tresiba following its launch last year.

Based on questionnaires, Novo determined that the rate of hypoglycaemia – a side effect of treatment where blood sugar levels drop to dangerous levels – was reduced by 90 per cent after patients switched to Tresiba. 

This reduction has “cost implications for the NHS”, said Novo, with hypoglycaemia sometimes leading to hospitalisations or other medical care. The side effect is also a major factor in poor treatment adherence in diabetes patients, making them more susceptible to the costly complications of the disease.

In addition, the study also found that patient satisfaction increased in patients who switched to Tresiba and its more flexible dosing regimen, while levels of blood sugar measured by HbA1c decreased by 0.5 in patients with type 1 diabetes and by 0.7 in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Speaking to PMLiVE, Dr Klaus Henning Jensen, director of clinical, medical and regulatory of Novo's UK business, commented on the importance of measuring how a treatment is used in actual practice to complement clinical trial data.

“That kind of real world data is what we really need to see now,” he said. “To see how does the product perform and what is the effectiveness of the product in the real world. Because there is a difference between what we need for regulatory requirements and what doctors actually achieve n the real world.

“This data shows the most value is achieved in people with hypoglycaemia problems or those who have a need for dosing flexibility.”

The data has the potential to influence insulin prescribing, according to Dr Jensen: “I think we will see that, as experience grows and doctors get to know the new therapy and see where it can make a difference in the patients, that it will impact where they use the drug.”

Novo's main rival in the insulin arena is Sanofi, which is currently leading the market with Lantus. That drug is set to face competition from biosimilars in the next few years, however, and Sanofi is preparing its own next generation insulin in the form of Toujeo – a concentrated version of Lantus.

As with Novo and Tresiba, Sanofi is also banking on its new product's ability to reduce side effects, with the company also presenting data at the ADA conference demonstrating Toujeo (formerly U300) is able to reduce rates of hypoglycaemia compared to Lantus as well as having less weight gain.

Sanofi's Pierre Chancel, senior VP of its global diabetes division, confirmed to PMLiVE that the drug had been accepted for review by the EMA and that, on approval, the company plans to market it as a replacement for Lantus at a cost that is affordable for healthcare systems.

“Is it going to replace Lantus? Yes,” he said. “Are we going to look for quick access? Yes. Are we going to push for switch? Yes. The price depends on different countries but we want fast market access.”

Article by
Thomas Meek

19th June 2014

From: Research, Sales, Healthcare

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