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Xconomy has an item about a brewing controversy in Australia that revolves around San Diego-based Amylin’s diabetes drug Byetta.

Reportedly, a study co-sponsored by Eli Lilly & Co., which partners with Amylin on Byetta, asserts that drugs in the same class as Byetta will do more to improve the health of diabetes patients than exercise.

A story in the Australia’s national newspaper, The Australian, reports on concerns that the study is part of a marketing effort to win public subsidies for Byetta.

From the Xconomy post:

Although the study mentioned exenatide, the generic name for Byetta, only in a footnote, it asserted that drugs in the same class as exenatide could produce greater health improvements for diabetic patients than exercise or existing drugs. And that seems to have sparked a bit of a controversy Down Under.

The newspaper reports that some experts were concerned that the report was part of a marketing push to win public subsidies for the medication. Australia’s Public Benefits Scheme recommended the drug for inclusion last year, but the federal government has yet to respond. This means exenatide is available only on private prescription at a relatively high cost. Consequently, it is not widely used.

NATSEM defended the integrity of the research, saying the projected increase in type 2 diabetes was a legitimate concern.

DAVID WASHBURN

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