News
26/04/00
From: Primal Seeds newsgroup  
Subject:lawsuit launched in US against biotech insulin producers

Thousands of diabetics forced to change to GE insulin are suffering extreme side effects

The lawsuit has been launched on behalf of insulin dependent diabetics who have suffered life threatening side effects from GE insulin. Damages are being claimed from the two pharmacuetical companies that control the market in insulin, Lilly and Novo Nordisk. The 18 page lawsuit states that these companies "recklessly and maliciously discontinued or significantly reduced the manufacture of animal-based insulins knowing that diabetics had serious adverse symptoms" from the biotech insulin. Also these companies were aware that GE insulin can cause injurious, life-threatening symptoms, including lack of awareness of low-blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) which can lead to a coma, and arthritis, headaches, light-headedness, poor concentration, behavioural changes, anxiety and fear.

There have been at least 50 sudden unexplained deaths in young insulin-dependent diabetics, going to bed in apparently good health and later found dead in an undisturbed bed. Insulin dependent diabetics who had managed their condition over many years, living a full normal Iife, suddenly changed, the condition becoming problematic and life disrupting. The official FDA (US) labelling for the biotech insulin carries this warning "A few patients who experienced hypoglycemic reactions after transfer from animal-source insulin to human insulin have reported that the early warning symptoms of hypoglycemia were less pronounced or different from these experienced with their previous insulin."

"Human" insulin uses genetically engineered Escherichia-Coli bacteria to produce a protein containing proinsulin. The manufacturers argue that this product is closer to the naturally produced human insulin than the animal one upon which diabetics previously depended. The insulin producers control research into diabetes and dictate to doctors. Changeover to GE insulin often took place without the patient's knowledge, when the pharmacist gave the new insulin.

The market for this drug is growing, there are an estimated 100 million diabetics worldwide (20% of whom are insulin dependent). Diabetes is on the increase, due to a large extent to diets high in refined sugar and saturated fats, lack of physical activity and stress. Lilly and Novo Nordisk have phased out production of most animal insulin and replaced it with the GE product because this enables them to produce insulin much more cheaply and increase their profit margin. For example, in Britain these companies are charging 50% more for GE insulin than animal. Thus, the NHS (National Health Service) has been spending 19 million more per year.

GE "human" insulin was the first biotech drug to be marketed in 1982. Biotech corporations and investors will be watching this lawsuit closely. The resistance that has met GE crops and foods has been absent from biotech medicines and pharmaceutical companies are rushing biotech drugs to market. Forty-one of the estimated 88 biotech drugs on the US market have been approved over the past three years. 29 GE drugs have been approved by the European Union. Biggest selling biotech drugs include erythropoietin (sales over $ 2 billion), and GCSF, human growth hormone, human insulin and Interferon with sales over $1 billion each. There are at least 400 new GE drugs in development.