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Why Aren’t States Doing More to Lower the Cost of Insulin?

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A high-speed production line of insulin is pictured at the factory of Novo Nordisk, a global health-care company.

My family has a story that my father swears is true. When my great-grandfather came to this country, he and his wife ended up working in mill towns in Massachusetts. He got diabetes and grew progressively more and more ill. His doctor offered him the chance to participate in a medical trial in the late 1910s or ’20s (my father isn’t certain of the year). My great-grandfather declined to be experimented on, and died not long after.

That trial was for purified animal-sourced insulin, which would soon become the world’s most effective treatment for diabetes. My first memory of insulin was watching my dad’s mother inject herself when we visited every summer. It seemed like such a simple way to save lives and make diabetes a chronic condition, rather than the fatal disease that had afflicted my great-grandfather.

Today, insulin is synthetic, reliable, and subject to the whims of pharmaceutical pricing that render such life-saving technology inaccessible to far too many people. A major study published last fall in The Lancet predicted that, of the 79 million people around the world with Type 2 Diabetes (the type potentially controllable by diet) who will need insulin by 2030, only half of them will have consistent access to the drug.

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Thanks !

Thanks for sharing this, you are awesome !