The future of the inhaled insulin product Exubera is in doubt, after pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced it is to cease development.
It will also return marketing rights to Nektar Therapeutics, which owns the technology.
Pfizer said the product had not been accepted sufficiently by health professionals and was no longer financially sustainable because of low uptake. However, it insisted Exubera was safe.
NICE guidance says the product may be used in patients unable to inject insulin.
Simon O'Neill, director of care, information and advocacy services at Diabetes UK, said: 'We understand that because of commercial pressure this decision was necessary.
'Nevertheless, Exubera does provide an alternative treatment to insulin injections for some people with diabetes and we therefore hope this product will remain available in the future,' he said.