Pfizer delays Exubera launch

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Pfizer said it would delay the launch of its inhaled insulin Exubera until early September, weeks later than its previously anticipated delivery date of mid-July. Pfizer executives said Thursday in a conference call with analysts the delay is a result of wanting to make sure US educational programs for doctors, pharmacists and diabetes educators are properly conducted. “We will never get a second chance,” to introduce Exubera, said Pfizer CEO Hank McKinnell. Pfizer vice chair of human-health, Karen Katen, said, “our education programs and manufacturing preparations are time consuming but we are taking the time necessary to do the job right. We are working not only to meet initial demand for the medicine but also continued demand from prescription refills. Initial supplies of Exubera will be available across the US beginning in September.” Peter Brandt, SVP of global pharmaceuticals said manufacturing of Exubera will be coordinated with the progress of the education program. Pfizer is expected to be providing Exubera starter kits to doctors who are heavy prescribers of insulin, beginning next week. Exubera was approved by the FDA in January and made available in Germany and Ireland in May. Company officials told analysts they did not have enough information on sales in the two European nations to assess Exubera’s progress so far.

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