ADA 2014: Insulin Pens Battle for Market Supremacy

Easily one of the more impressive showings at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association was the Levemir FlexTouch pen. This easy-to-use delivery system for long-acting insulin sets itself apart by eschewing the standard plunger-style dial and replacing it with a basic button-press feature. This requires very little injection force, while allowing for an adjustable dose setting and accurate dosing between 1 and 80 units.

The Levemir FlexTouch pen also allows you to keep it out of the fridge almost two weeks longer than traditional insulin pens, or 42 days. The FlexTouch pen is expected to give stiff competition to Sanofi's Solostar pen.

Vigilant meanwhile has launched the Bee—what they're calling "the world's first Bluetooth smart injection tracker connecting insulin pens to smartphones." This is an electronic cap that fits insulin pens and it works by turning a dial to record your injection. It then transmits that data to a mobile app that can then be shared with your doctor or others. In that sense it's a lot like a smart insulin pump. And the best news is that it is already approved by the US FDA.

Along similar lines, BD will be launching Autoshield Duo safety pen needles in August. These pens keep the needle entirely covered before, during and after dosing, meaning you never come into contact with the sharp needle, a very useful innovation.

Photo: Public Health Watchdog, Diabetes Forecast

Competition between insulin pen companies is increasing as each tries to develop better technologies.