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New Report Released in North Carolina Shows Record Number of Medicines in Development to Treat Diabetes

RALEIGH, N.C., May 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) unveiled a new report today on medicines in the research pipeline for diabetes. The report shows that America's pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies are testing a record 183 new diabetes medicines. The medicines listed in the report are being tested in human clinical trials or are awaiting approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The report was released at a press conference in North Carolina featuring actor Jerry Mathers, who suffers from diabetes and works to raise awareness of this devastating chronic disease. An American icon, he is best known for his portrayal of "Beaver" in the television classic, "Leave It To Beaver." Currently shown on TV Land and in countries throughout the world, "Leave It To Beaver" has made Jerry Mathers one of the most well-known actors in television history.

"We released this report in North Carolina because of the alarming rise in the number of new cases of diabetes in the state. Unfortunately, these rising numbers reflect what is occurring nationwide," said PhRMA Senior Vice President Ken Johnson, who discussed the findings of the report at the SAS Institute located in the Research Triangle Park Corridor. SAS has a successful diabetes management program for all of its employees.

"Diabetes is a major health problem in North Carolina, where an estimated 600,000 people suffer from the disease," Johnson added. "A huge contributing factor is lifestyle. Obesity is becoming to diabetes what smoking is to lung cancer."

Combined with those who have pre-diabetes or undiagnosed diabetes, the number of people with the disease in the state reaches one million. African-Americans have the highest rate (13.4 percent) of those in North Carolina suffering from the disease.

The North Carolina Diabetes Advisory Council has warned that diabetes in the state has reached epidemic rates. Diabetes prevalence has increased by 102 percent over the last decade, from 4.5 percent of the state's population in 1995 to 9.1 percent in 2006.

There also has been an alarming new trend among children who are developing type 2 diabetes, related to an increase in childhood obesity. Nearly 30 percent of high school students in North Carolina are overweight, and among low-income children ages 2 to 5, 15.4 percent are obese, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Nationwide, diabetes affects more than 30 million Americans, or about 8 percent of the U.S. population. New cases of it have risen more than 90 percent among adults over the last 10 years, and since 1987 the number of deaths from the disease has risen by 45 percent, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Diabetes Association.

"The diabetes medicines now in the research pipeline are contributing substantially to the incredible progress made in the last five years by biopharmaceutical companies in developing new and more effective diabetes treatments," says Billy Tauzin, PhRMA President and CEO. "The nation must continue its strong commitment to the cutting-edge pharmaceutical research that enables today's diabetes patients to manage their disease and lead productive lives."

Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin, a hormone needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy. The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery.

"Given limitations associated with currently available medications, now is an exciting time to be in drug discovery and development for the diabetes field," said Dr. Barry Goldstein, Vice President of Clinical Research for Diabetes and Obesity, Merck & Co., Inc. "There are many innovative, promising new compounds under development that will improve the quality of life for people living with diabetes and help to prevent the devastating long-term consequences of this disease."

New medicines in the development stage include the following:

  • A first-in-class medicine that significantly improves long-term blood sugar control and targets the dysfunction of pancreas cells, a dysfunction that causes high sugar level in type 2 diabetes.
  • A medicine that addresses the underlying cause of type 2 diabetes by modulating genes responsible for insulin sensitization.
  • A medicine that stimulates the release of insulin only when glucose levels become too high and by suppressing appetite in patients with type 2 diabetes.

"The work being done by the pharmaceutical industry to develop new treatments for diabetes and other chronic diseases is extremely important because chronic disease is responsible for seven of 10 American deaths and 75 percent of the nation's $2.2 trillion health care bill," said APhA Foundation CEO William M. Ellis. "The American Pharmacists Association Foundation is committed to helping patients gain the full benefit of their treatments, while reducing overall health care costs as we did during The Diabetes Ten City Challenge." The Diabetes Ten City Challenge is a diabetes management program sponsored by the APhA Foundation with support from GlaxoSmithKline (

Tauzin notes that while researchers are making exciting progress in the search for new cures and treatments for diabetes, these efforts are wasted if the medicines developed aren't accessible to patients who need them.

Help is available to patients in need through the Partnership for Prescription Assistance ( or 1-888-4PPA-NOW), which is sponsored by America's pharmaceutical companies. PPA has helped more than 227,700 people in North Carolina and 5.7 million patients nationwide.

To read Medicines in Development for Diabetes 2009 on the PhRMA web site, click on the following link:

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country's leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $50.3 billion in 2008 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $65.2 billion in 2008.

PhRMA Internet Address:

For information on stories of hope and survival, visit:

For information on how innovative medicines save lives, visit:

For information on the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, visit:

For more information on public health emergencies, visit

For information on the dangers of imported drugs, visit:

SOURCE Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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