People with diabetes will still have access to animal insulin once Novo Nordisk withdraws its pork (porcine) insulins this December.
Wockhardt UK says it will continue to supply Hypurin porcine and bovine insulin, giving people with diabetes a much-needed choice of treatment.
Cathy Moulton, Diabetes UK care advisor, maintains that it is important for people with diabetes to have a choice about their treatment.
She says: "No two people with diabetes are the same. Although there are a very small number of people who use animal insulins in the UK, we are still hoping it will be provided.
"Changing insulin from the animal to human type is not as simple as it sounds because some people have a serious reaction to it. It is important that people with diabetes talk to their GPs before making any decisions about the matter."
In 2000 Diabetes UK commissioned a report on the subject which was published in Diabetic Medicine. It found that although most people can manage their diabetes effectively and safely with human insulin, a small number had problems with low blood glucose levels (hypoglycaemia) when they were treated with it.
The Department of Health has stated it fully accepts that some people are better suited to porcine or bovine insulin and that these insulins should continue to be available.
"Many health professionals are unaware of the availability of pens for animal insulins and so patients have not been receiving a fully informed choice of treatment options. This is especially important as having the choice of injection pens does influence the choice of treatment" - Jenny Hirst, Co-Chair, Insulin Dependent Diabetes Trust, Northampton,www.iddtinternational.org