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The EC grants marketing authorisation to Byetta

The diabetes drug passes European trials, seven years after US approval.

The European Commission (EC) has granted marketing authorisation to Byetta, an injectable prescription medicine for the treatment of type II diabetes, based on a double-blind, 30-week clinical trial, said the drug-makers Amylin Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly and Company.

The decision was based on trials in which ten micrograms of Byetta or placebos were added to insulin glargine therapy (with or without metformin, pioglitazone or both), titrated to achieve target fasting glucose levels. At trial entry, the dosage of insulin glargine for patients at increased risk of hypoglycemia was reduced by 20 per cent.

In November 2011, Amylin and Eli Lilly announced that they had amicably terminated their ten-year collaboration. As part of the transition plan outside the US, Amylin will assume responsibility for exenatide product commercialisation efforts on a market-by-market basis by the end of 2013.

During this period, Amylin will work with Eli Lilly on plans for the markets outside the US.

Weyer added: “In a clinical trial, patients using fixed-dose Byetta with titrated basal insulin achieved better postprandial and overall glycemic control, without weight gain or an increased risk of hypoglycemia, compared to patients using titrated basal insulin without Byetta.”

Byetta was approved in the US in April 2005.

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Is anyone prepared to solve the NHS funding crisis?

As long as the political taboo on raising taxes endures, the service will be in financial peril. 

It has long been clear that the NHS is in financial ill-health. But today's figures, conveniently delayed until after the Conservative conference, are still stunningly bad. The service ran a deficit of £930m between April and June (greater than the £820m recorded for the whole of the 2014/15 financial year) and is on course for a shortfall of at least £2bn this year - its worst position for a generation. 

Though often described as having been shielded from austerity, owing to its ring-fenced budget, the NHS is enduring the toughest spending settlement in its history. Since 1950, health spending has grown at an average annual rate of 4 per cent, but over the last parliament it rose by just 0.5 per cent. An ageing population, rising treatment costs and the social care crisis all mean that the NHS has to run merely to stand still. The Tories have pledged to provide £10bn more for the service but this still leaves £20bn of efficiency savings required. 

Speculation is now turning to whether George Osborne will provide an emergency injection of funds in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. But the long-term question is whether anyone is prepared to offer a sustainable solution to the crisis. Health experts argue that only a rise in general taxation (income tax, VAT, national insurance), patient charges or a hypothecated "health tax" will secure the future of a universal, high-quality service. But the political taboo against increasing taxes on all but the richest means no politician has ventured into this territory. Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has today called for the government to "find money urgently to get through the coming winter months". But the bigger question is whether, under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is prepared to go beyond sticking-plaster solutions. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.