Diabetes Docs Wary of MannKind's Afrezza Insulin, Analyst Survey Finds

BOSTON, Mass. ( TheStreet) -- Jefferies analyst  Shaunak Deepak spoke to 20 diabetes doctors attending the  American Diabetes Association annual meeting and found only six were prescribing MannKind's ( MNKD) inhaled insulin Afrezza. A majority of the doctors expressed concerns about Afrezza to Deepak, but his MannKind research note published Tuesday morning is titled, "Positive Physician Feedback from ADA."

Strange, but only in the sense that MannKind is likely to raise money soon and Deepak's employer, Jefferies, is interested in the banking business. 

Let's walk through  Deepak's MannKind note in search of the positive Afrezza comments. Warning: Rose-colored glass required.

At the ADA meeting we spoke to 20 U.S. physicians who were familiar with Afrezza and found that while only six had prescribed the drug to date, only one of physicians was fundamentally concerned about prescribing it.

Since MannKind and its partner Sanofi ( SNY) are in the business of selling Afrezza, the fact that only six of 20 doctors are prescribing the insulin is hardly positive. 

The one physician who expressed caution about prescribing Afrezza said that he remained worried about delivery of insulin, a hormone, into the lung.

Not positive. 

Of the remaining 13 physicians, we spoke to two pediatric endocrinologists who said they were not going to prescribe the drug until the FDA approved Afrezza for use in children. However, both were positive about the eventual opportunity, with one claiming that he would take Afrezza himself if he were diabetic.

Positive? In an aspirational way, I guess. 

Three physicians we spoke to worked for the VA/DOD and each expressed concerns with their ability get access to Afrezza, with one hoping for a broad government contract and another asserting it would never be put on formulary.

Afrezza is having access problems. Not positive. 

Three physicians were reluctant to try Afrezza until they had identified the ideal patient in need of insulin intensification.

Patient identification issues. Not positive. 

The six doctors Deepak interviewed who are prescribing Afrezza must be ecstatic about the new insulin, right? Let's see.

For most prescribers, their experience with Afrezza was too limited to offer much patient feedback, however, the prescriber who had written 12 patients scripts noted that 2 had discontinued, one for cough and one for compliance, but that the other feedback was positive.

Early in the Afrezza launch and already, one doctor has two patients who discontinued the inhaled insulin because of cough and compliance. Strange definition of positive.

Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet. In keeping with company editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

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