Afrezza: was Sanofi sandbagging Afrezza?

But Marcus, the Laguna Hills endocrinologist, said Sanofi’s educational and marketing efforts fell short, especially in teaching doctors how to do the FDA-mandated lung tests.

Those are tests endocrinologists don’t typically perform. Marcus said Sanofi offered a class, but no hands-on training with either lung-testing equipment or with the Afrezza inhalers themselves.

Sanofi didn’t have a wise plan for introducing this product,” he said.

What’s more, Marcus said many of the patients he prescribed Afrezza to ended up dropping it because it wasn’t covered by their insurance.  [As reported by LA Times].

“A world-changing drug deserves better marketing. I’ve done more to market Afrezza myself than Sanofi ever did,” a TuDiabetes user wrote.  [As reported by LA Times].

“There is no doubt that Sanofi has been a poor partner. One wonders if there was ever any commitment to the product at all,” wrote another TuDiabetes user.  [As reported by LA Times].

Sanofi is looking to reinvigorate growth in its diabetes franchise through its marketed products Lantus and Toujeo, and Patton said this left the French Pharma Giant “conflicted” when it came to Afrezza.   “Inhaled insulin can directly compete with Lantus and Toujeo in Type 2 patients, and with all of the prandial insulins in both Type 1 and 2 they were conflicted.  No way Sanofi was going to go against its golden goose franchise.”  [As reported by].


I also want to say. Please do not pull the plug on this insulin yet. I still have hope it will survive. Sanofi did not market this drug correctly. The PROVIDERS and INSURANCE COMPANIES needed to be educated first, then the roll out to the patients. From what I am hearing Sanofi did not educate the endos. Everyone is afraid of the lung spirometry test which is NO BIG DEAL. Endos need to have the lung spirometry equipment in office (Dr. Goddard in New York City does it in office before prescribing Afrezza). But the insurance companies are refusing to pay. One big HINT for Mannkind and/or Sanofi. When rolling out a new drug, in today’s insurance market, PRICE IT COMPETITIVELY. Comment on

Sanofi did not promote this drug; in fact, I will quote one shareholder “Sanofi walked Afrezza into bankruptcy.” Or tried to. Comment on

Both my primary care and endo were happy to prescribe it… It’s not like the majority of doctors weren’t willing to prescribe it once they had been educated by the drug reps on the product— the problem is, the sanofi reps seemingly made no effort to do that— or when they did they totally failed to illustrate it’s amazing benefits—- and the vast majority of the diabetes population doesn’t know it exists…. Comment on

I have had ZERO severe hypos since starting it in February of last year.  Your post is on point as it relates to the target marketing and launch of the drug and I won’t comment on whether or not I believe the drug is more appropriate for T2’s. Sanofi was the wrong partner, period.  Comment on

Fair enough and this is why Sanofi has done an awful job on the marketing and distribution front. According to many they haven’t even heard about Afrezza and in most cases neither has their doctors or endos. There has to be a start somewhere and the early adopters are that start.  Comment on

Good— sanofi never had its interests in mind and made exactly zero attempt to commercialize it’s game changing drug.  Comment on

We can speculate all day as to Sanofi’s motives.. My understanding is that the last couple years, sales of Lantus, their biggest market-winner, have been dropping, despite an increase in the number of PWD overall, so they wanted another very different diabetes drug to try and offset that. Those plans may have been internally derailed by the development and approval for Toujeo and now the new T2D combo insulin+GLP-1 drug they’ve applied for approval (Lixilan), while at the same time Lantus will have new competition from Lily’s biosimilar insulin. So Afrezza didn’t get the attention it neededComment on

Interestingly, up here in rural Alaska, there was a swarm of sanofi reps touting afrezza for a week or two and then nothing…. I did see exactly one magazine advertisement while sitting in the waiting room at the dentist office—- A world changing drug deserves better marketing. I’ve done more to market afrezza myself than sanofi ever did.  Comment on

I think ultimately they need a robust marketing and negotiation program with insurers to ensure both widespread awareness of how well it works and affordable prices in combination with good insurance coverage to be successful… Both things that sanofi failed miserably at— or seemingly didn’t even try to do…  Comment on

Many providers clearly haven’t received solid education on the product. I guess we can pin that on Sanofi, or perhaps disinterest. Comment on

While we agree that the marketing of Afrezza by Sanofi was essentially nil (this comment by Sanofi’s rep was laughable, “Sanofi spokeswoman Susan Brooks said the company didn’t scrimp on promoting Afrezza.”) I think an often not talked about or considered barrier to entry is the fact that diabetics tend to be stubborn to change when things are going well. Kind of the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude.  Comment on

I believe Sanofi had no intention of promoting Afrezza. Sanofi basically sat on the drug until they were able to market their new injectable…. the name of it escapes me at the moment. Remember how excited everyone was when Merck bought SmartInsulin from Dr. Zion. It was ready for large animal studies. Merck shelved it. Why? They had no insulin of any kind to sell. But they did have Januvia. And certainly were not interested in a cure while they could milk the huge Type 2 market. They are working on SmartInsulin now (under another name) but only because there is another company working on a Smart Insulin of their own. It’s all about the money. And they have made their $50 thou a year off my daughter for the past ten years. Sanofi is being sued by another company for failing to keep up their part of the bargain re marketing and promotion. Slow roll out? It was a NO Roll out.  Comment on

Sanofi has destroyed the Afrezza launch and Mannkind is running out of money. They should be sued.  Comment on

I’m voting with my feet when it comes to sanofi— I am switching from lantus to tresiba. Sanofi will never again profit from my illness in one hand while attempting to screw the world out of afrezza with the other.  Comment on

I will boycott Sanofi as soon as we can. If Afrezza goes out of business, we will use the new Novo fast acting when it comes to market. She is using Tresiba. We will never use Toujeho. Comment on

Let’s compare the terms of the Toujeo Savings Card with those of the Afrezza Savings Card:

Toujeo Savings Card

Savings Card carries maximum savings of $500 off per pack for the duration of the program.

Afrezza Savings Card

Maximum benefit is $150 off per prescription depending on your out-of-pocket costs for the duration of the program.

Wow, how did Sanofi envision Afrezza to be competitive with these kind of pricing strategy?

Comment on


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