Patients dying from rationing insulin have increased rapidly, U.N. tries a new solution

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a dreadful way to die. It’s what happens when you don’t produce enough insulin. Your blood sugar gets so high that your blood becomes extremely acidic, your cells start to get dehydrated, and your body stops functioning properly, which leads to several issues. Most people’s bodies create insulin, which regulates the amount of sugar in the blood.

Despite several promises by pharmaceutical companies to limit insulin price increase, life-saving drugs still likely to remain out of reach for many patients who have diabetes, which can be fatal or nearly fatal as per the research. As part of World Diabetes Day, the U.N. World Health Organization recently announced a current initiative to sponsor the production of insulin under a procedure known as prequalification, earlier used to create lower-priced generic versions of drugs utilized to treat TB, HIV, and malaria. Once a drug is prequalified, it can be bought in bulk by international agencies at lesser prices. This year alone, there have been around four reported deaths owing to insulin rationing. And it’s not only families living on the margins who are also struggling to afford their diabetes tablets. The latest reports depict patients in their 20s from middle-class backgrounds who hold jobs and have health insurance, but who died after taking drastic steps to control costs for their insulin.

One in five patients with diabetes reports using less insulin than prescribed due to the price, according to a recent study by researchers. There are about 32 million adults with diabetes and about 1.30 million children as well as adults with type one diabetes, according to a prediction from the American Diabetes Association. In spite of being discovered in the 1920s and costing as little as $5 per vial to generate, insulin now has an average list price of around $350 per vial.


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