COVID-19 Diabetes Supply Chain Updates


Editor’s Note: Get continuous updates and coverage from Beyond Type 2 about the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) here

A lot of people are wondering how COVID-19 will affect the production of diabetes supplies and medications, including insulin. Beyond Type 1 is communicating closely with diabetes drug and device manufacturers and will update this page daily with the latest information.

Insulin + Prescription Drugs

Lilly indicated in their latest press release: “Lilly does not currently anticipate shortages for any of our medicines, including all forms of insulin…. Since the initial outbreak, Lilly has closely monitored our supply chain for potential impact to the supply of our medicines around the world. We continue to monitor the situation, and our insulin manufacturing sites in the U.S. and Europe remain operational, with increased precautions in place to protect the supply of medicine and the welfare of our employees. Lilly does not source active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) for any of our approved medicines from China… U.S. pharmacies that temporarily don’t have Lilly medicines in stock due to higher demand can order them from wholesalers, and generally they can be delivered in 1 to 2 days. Lilly has received a few reports of U.S. pharmacies stating that insulin orders are not being fulfilled due to “manufacturer backorder.” Lilly has informed wholesalers and others in the supply chain that we do not have any products on backorder, including insulin. Patients should ask their pharmacist to secure an order from their wholesaler.” (Initial Response March 3rd, Last Updated March 24)

Sanofi: “Sanofi is putting specific actions in place to enable the business continuity, and the supply and distribution of the respective medicines. We are closely monitoring the situation to ensure we have no discontinuity in the supply. In general, we have multiple suppliers for our key materials to mitigate the supply issue, and China situation is no different.” (March 5)

Novo Nordisk: “During the global coronavirus outbreak, Novo Nordisk’s key priority is to safeguard the continued supply of our lifesaving medicines to patients. At present, we do not foresee a disruption in our ability to supply the US market with our medicines, including insulin. We have an inventory policy that helps ensure long-term supply. This is important since our medicines are needed every day by patients all over the world.” (March 11)

Mannkind (Afrezza): “MannKind sources critical raw materials from suppliers in the United States (US) and Europe and our US manufacturing plant is fully operational; we are confident supplies for Afrezza will not be affected. As the global situation evolves, we will continue to take the steps necessary to safeguard the reliable supply of Afrezza.” (March 12)

Xeris (Gvoke) indicated in a press release: “Xeris has no business exposure to China. Regarding Gvoke PFS, the Company believes it has four to five months of finished goods on hand; four to five months of product currently being manufactured; and, an additional six to nine months of components and API. Therefore, the Company has commercial supply for the balance of 2020. In addition, the external components of Gvoke HypoPen™, Xeris’ liquid glucagon in an autoinjector, are being manufactured in Taiwan with the cartridges made in the U.S. and final assembly to be in the U.S. To date, there have been no work interruptions of manufacturing of Gvoke HypoPen components in Taiwan.” (March 20)

Device Manufacturers

Abbott: “We are closely monitoring the coronavirus across our business operations. At this time, there has been no impact on availability of Abbott’s diabetes care products. We will continue to monitor the situation throughout our global manufacturing and distribution network as things continue to evolve.” (March 13)

Dexcom: “We have reviewed our supply chain in detail, and while we will continue to monitor it closely, we are not currently anticipating any interruptions to Dexcom’s ability to produce and supply product as a result of the Coronavirus.” (March 5)

Insulet: “We have planned and built redundancy throughout our supply chain, (including components and manufacturing), to mitigate risk of supply to our Podders. Our manufacturing facility in China is running and producing Pods. Our new manufacturing facility in the U.S. also provides manufacturing redundancy, risk mitigation and additional capacity. We do not anticipate any product supply issues due to the coronavirus at this time.” Click here for more information from Insulet on their coronavirus response. (March 4)

Insulet (Europe): “We are currently working hard to set-up our customer care team to work from home, this means that calls will take longer to be answered for the next few days and orders may be delayed by a day or so, do not be concerned, we have no supply issues and we will get your order to you there is no need to call or email to chase this. We are committed to get the service back to full strength to support you through this unprecedented time. Please utilize the website resources and email us with any non-urgent requests and contact your healthcare provider for any urgent medical queries.” (March 20)

Tandem: As the global impact of the coronavirus (COVID‑19) continues to unfold, Tandem Diabetes Care has taken steps to protect the health, safety and well-being of our customers, employees and communities … Healthcare operations are deemed critical to provide ongoing services for the health and well-being of our customers, meaning Tandem Diabetes Care continues to operate … We are taking the current COVID-19 pandemic very seriously and are constantly monitoring the situation. If you are calling to speak with our teams in Product Technical Support, Sales Support, or Supplies Reordering, you may experience longer hold times or processing as a result of the actions we’ve taken due to concern surrounding this pandemic. We thank you for your patience. For frequently asked questions and answers about accessing supplies during COVID-19, please click here.” (March 20)

Medtronic: “Our top concern at Medtronic is the health and well-being of our employees across the globe and supporting our healthcare customers as they confront the COVID-19 virus. There is impact to our business as a result of COVID-19, but the duration and magnitude of that impact is difficult to quantify at this time because of the fluidity of the situation. At this time, we have realized no material impact from COVID-19 to our supply chain or product availability. This is a dynamic event and we will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates to our employees, customers and investors as the situation warrants.” Get the latest from Medtronic on their COVID-19 updates page. (March 17)

Roche: “Roche is working diligently to ensure the continuity of Accu-Chek products, and at this point, we do not expect supply chain disruptions related to the COVID-19 outbreak.” (March 13)

General info

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a statement on Feb 27 that they are “closely monitoring the situation,” and there have been no reports of direct impact to any diabetes products.

Be sure to renew and refill prescriptions well before you run out.  If clinics and pharmacies become busy with sick people, or healthcare employees become ill, it may be harder to get routine care and supplies. A few actions you can take now:

  • Contact your physician and make sure all your prescriptions are current and have a maximal number of refills available. Consider back-up medications, like having long acting insulin on hand if you are a pump user.
  • You may be able to refill a prescription even it is before the typical 30-day time window. Call your pharmacy to find out if your state and/or health insurance company has waived refill restrictions because of COVID-19.
  • Call your insurance company and find out if you can enroll to receive 90-day prescription refills via mail-order shipments.

WRITTEN BY Todd Boudreaux, POSTED 03/20/20, UPDATED 12/13/22

Todd was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in 2000, and has been unofficially advocating for T1D ever since. Before joining the team at Beyond Type 1, Todd wrote and produced television shows for Discovery Channel, Travel Channel and Animal Planet. When he’s not in the office, you can usually find him at a baseball game, traveling, or drawing on his Etch A Sketch. You can also follow him on instagram @toddboo.