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Resolution 2008-07
Regarding Insulin Pen Disclaimer

Whereas, most persons with type 1 and type 2 diabetes can achieve effective self-management of the disease by regularly testing blood sugar, eating well and taking medication if necessary; and

Whereas, for some, effective self-management also includes accurately measuring and injecting insulin several times a day; and

Whereas, many diabetics measure insulin with ordinary insulin pens manufactured by pharmaceutical giants like Eli Lilly and Company, Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals Inc., and Sanofi-Aventis; and

Whereas, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults of working age; and

Whereas, for years, blind diabetics have achieved independent self-management of diabetes by successfully using an insulin pen; and

Whereas, despite resounding evidence of the ability of blind persons to use insulin pens safely and effectively, two manufacturers, Eli Lilly and Company and Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals Inc., use language on their insulin pen packages  warning the blind not to use these products without sighted assistance; and

Whereas, for example, the instructions from Eli Lilly and Company read “the HumaPen MEMOIR is not recommended for the blind or visually impaired without the assistance of a sighted individual trained to use it,” and the instructions from Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals Inc. read “the LEVEMIR FlexPen is not recommended for the blind or severely visually impaired patients without the assistance of a sighted individual trained in the proper use of the product”; and

Whereas, these warnings may actually discourage health care providers from providing the best medical care to their blind and low vision diabetic patients; and

Whereas, these unnecessary warnings are detrimental to the public’s understanding about blindness as well as the independence of blind and low vision diabetics; and

Whereas, insulin pens are one of the easiest ways for blind people to draw up insulin, especially since the Count-a-Dose syringe holder and measuring device, which was easy for blind people to use, is no longer being manufactured; and

Whereas, these disclaimers are not required by the US Food and Drug Administration as some in the industry maintain; and

Whereas, Sanofi-Aventis has chosen not to carry such demeaning warnings on their insulin pens and thus respects the capabilities of blind persons: Now, therefore,

Be it resolved by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fifth day of July, 2008, in the city of Dallas, Texas, that this organization commend Sanofi-aventis for accurately recognizing that blind persons are capable of independently managing their diabetes without sighted assistance, thus fostering proper understanding about how independent blind and low vision diabetics can manage their disease by themselves; and

Be it further resolved that this organization demand that Eli Lilly and Company and Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals Inc. remove the demeaning language about blindness from all of their insulin pen instructions and products.