If you live in the Netherlands you have undoubtedly heard of it: the new insulin from Sanofi. Suddenly, many people with diabetes were suddenly given a different brand of insulin. Why and how is that possible?
SUDDENLY OTHER INSULIN AT THE PHARMACY
Have you suddenly received a different insulin? You're not the only one. Many people with diabetes were surprised when they no longer received their trusted insulin – often Novo Rapid – but suddenly Sanofi brand insulin. And if you use pens, so does a new insulin pen. Then you're going to look strange at the pharmacy!
One thing is clear, the communication around this change was bad, very bad. Hardly anyone knew anything about it and even hospitals were speechless. A few observant diabetics had picked up the announcement themselves, but most, like me, were stunned—and a little outraged, too. Insulin is vital and it is not pleasant if it is changed without notice!
WHY ARE YOU GETTING OTHER INSULIN?
Sanofi's insulin contains the same active ingredient as the insulin you are used to and scientific research shows that the new insulin is just as safe and works the same as Novo Rapid or Humalog. What is an important difference is the price. Sanofi is a lot cheaper and that is why a number of large health insurers in the Netherlands have decided that their patients must use Sanofi from now on. There are some exceptions: pregnant women, children under the age of 18 and users of FIASP do not have to switch.
IS THIS JUST POSSIBLE?
Health insurers may prescribe a different preferred drug for their customers, if this preserves the quality of care. Since Sanofi works largely the same, the quality remains the same, while the price drops. A policy was drawn up together with the DVN on how this change should be communicated to the patients. Unfortunately, in many cases this policy has not been followed properly. That is very unfortunate, but health insurers are allowed to change the brand, unless you belong to the exceptions as mentioned above.
FOR WHICH HEALTH INSURERS DOES THIS APPLY?
VGZ and its partners and the Zilveren Kruis and its partners, among others, now have Sanofi as their preferred medicine. In the overview of DVN you can see exactly what your insurer and type of insulin are.
WHAT DO YOU KNOW?
You can largely compare the use of Sanofi with your previous insulin, because it contains the same active ingredient. However, you may notice a difference and your dosage may need to be adjusted. Do this in consultation with your doctor. Is the new insulin not working for you? If there is a medical need, your doctor can help you get your 'old' insulin back. Otherwise, you can consider switching health insurance.