This week I got an urgent e-mail blast from the FDA. Apparently several batches of Levemir (a type of insulin made by Novo Nordisk Inc.) were stolen from the manufacturer in North Carolina. Now the vials have resurfaced in the Houston area, but they could be damaged and ineffective for controlling blood sugar.
After some digging on the FDA and Novo web sites, I found out that a total of 129,000 vials of this product were stolen. According to the FDA, vials from these lots "may not have been stored and handled properly, and may be dangerous for patients to use.
In fact, as of last week, the FDA has already received one report of an "adverse event" from a patient who used one of these vials. I'm guessing that the stolen insulin wasn't kept refrigerated, so it didn't work to control the patient's blood sugar.
In any case, if you take Levemir, please make sure to check your supply. Look on the side of your box or on the vials themselves for lot information. Do not use the 10 mL Levemir vials if you see they came from the following lots:
Levemir is a type of insulin approved for the treatment of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. I'm not sure how the FDA plans to contact the thousands of patients currently taking Levemir, so if you know someone who's diabetic, make sure to forward them this e-mail.