When Pfizer announced yesterday that the inhaled insulin product it spiked last fall may have triggered lung cancer in a few patients, pundits immediately pronounced the death of all insulin inhalers, may they rest in peace. Pfizer's partner on Exubera, Nektar Therapeutics, has been looking for another parterÂ to relaunch the product--but not anymore. The damage may even spill over onto inhaled forms of other meds.
All most likely true. But the Exubera fallout may be instructive for all drugs, actually. It shows the impossibility of guaranteeing perfect safety for prescription meds. As In the Pipeline points out today, Exubera was tested for years and years, and insulin itself has been on the market for decades. The FDA's stamp of approval couldn't guarantee that this drug--or any drug--wouldn't cause injury or death at some doses or in some people.
- see the item at In the Pipeline
Inhaled insulin lung cancer warning riles investors
Pfizer gives Nektar $135M for Exubera settlement
Pfizer kills off Exubera, hunts for deals
ExuberaÂ becoming a big disappointment for Pfizer
UK: Exubera not worth the price.
MannKind bets the farm on inhaled insulin