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Needle Maker Sees Fewer Shortages

May 22, 2001

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Shortages of needles for a popular type of insulin cartridge have some diabetic users and pharmacies scrambling for supplies.

The shortages arose at New Jersey-based Becton Dickinson in March amid rising demand for pen needles.

``The demand just exceeded our company’s capacity capabilities. We cannot make enough,″ said Camilla Jenkins, a spokeswoman for Becton Dickinson, based in Franklin Lakes, N.J.

Becton Dickinson is expanding production at its two plants in Nebraska and Ireland that make the needles. Production figures were not available, Jenkins said.

Becton Dickinson sells the leading BD brand of needle for the factory-filled insulin cartridges, which have become popular as a more convenient way to carry and inject insulin. The half-inch-long needles are designed to be used once, then thrown away.

The expansions should be complete by August, but it will take until the end of the year for supplies to catch up with surging demand, Jenkins said.

Steven Lill, a Bloomington, Ind., pharmacist whose store was temporarily out of the needles, was told by a distributor not to expect another shipment until mid-June.

``It’s a concern,″ Lill said.

The company advises customers who can’t find the needles at their pharmacies to search other stores, wait until new shipments come in or use conventional syringes to inject their insulin.

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On the Net:

Becton Dickinson: http://www.bd.com

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