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Utah Mother Advocates for Daughter’s Vital Diabetes Medication Amid Discontinuation**

A mother from Utah is actively advocating for continued access to diabetes medication for her daughter, Ruby Smart, who has been reliant on Levemir (detemir) insulin for over two years. Alison Smart, Ruby’s mother, emphasized the unique suitability of Levemir for her daughter’s specific needs in an interview with Fox News Digital.

The family was taken aback by the announcement from Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer based in Denmark, regarding the discontinuation of Levemir in November 2023. Subsequently, Smart has taken it upon herself to persuade Novo Nordisk to either continue producing Levemir or collaborate with another pharmaceutical company to develop a biosimilar alternative.

Levemir, an insulin administered once or twice daily to regulate high blood sugar in individuals with diabetes, has been instrumental in enabling Ruby to maintain her active lifestyle as a tennis player at Woods Cross High School.

Smart highlighted that while there are other basal insulin options available, Levemir stands out as the most suitable choice for her daughter due to its relatively shorter-acting nature, making it particularly beneficial for individuals with fluctuating basal insulin requirements such as teenagers, menstruating women, pregnant women, and athletes.

Novo Nordisk cited global manufacturing challenges, declining patient coverage, and confidence in the availability of alternative treatments as the primary reasons for discontinuing Levemir. Despite the company’s recommendations to transition to other basal insulin options, including Basaglar, Insulin Degludec, Insulin Glargine U-300, Lantus, Rezvoglar, Semglee, Toujeo, and Tresiba, many parents, including Smart and Jaime Losinski from Tampa, Florida, expressed concerns about the inadequacy of these alternatives compared to Levemir.

Smart, along with other parents, has been actively involved in advocating for insulin choice and has formed the Alliance to Protect Insulin Choice. Their efforts include engaging with policymakers in Washington, D.C., to address the challenges posed by the discontinuation of Levemir and the subsequent need for a viable alternative.

Medical experts, including certified diabetes educators Erin Palinski-Wade and Tanya Freirich, have underscored the complexities involved in transitioning between different insulin brands and the importance of tailored transition plans to mitigate potential disruptions in blood sugar management.

Dr. Marc Siegel, a clinical professor of medicine, expressed disappointment over the discontinuation of Levemir, emphasizing the need for biosimilar versions to fill the gap left by its discontinuation.

Smart’s relentless advocacy has garnered support from various quarters, including billionaire Mark Cuban, who has shown interest in collaborating with Novo Nordisk to ensure the continued availability of Levemir. Cuban’s pharmaceutical company, CostPlus Drug Company, is exploring options to source Levemir and potentially continue its production.

Smart’s determination to prolong the availability of Levemir until a biosimilar becomes widely accessible reflects her commitment to ensuring uninterrupted access to essential medication for individuals like her daughter.