UN leads bid for cheaper insulin, expanding access for diabetics worldwide

A health worker checks a diabetic patient's blood sugar levels. (Photo via UN News)
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(UN News) Overly expensive insulin could be a thing of the past – and life-changing news – for millions of diabetics under a plan launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday to diversify production globally, just ahead of World Diabetes Day.

Announcing the initiative in Geneva, the UN agency said that it had already had informal expressions of interest from pharmaceutical companies looking to produce insulin and have WHO assess whether it is safe for people to use.

“The simple fact is, that the prevalence of diabetes is growing, the amount of insulin available to treat diabetes is too low, the prices are too high, so we need to do something,” said Emer Cooke, Director of Regulation of Medicines and other Health Technologies at WHO.

Coinciding with the project launch, which comes ahead of World Diabetes Day marked each 14 November, UN Secretary-General António Guterres highlighted the impact of “catastrophic” medical expenses on sufferers.

“Diabetes damages health and undermines educational and employment aspirations for many, affecting communities and forcing families into economic hardship”, he said, particularly in low and middle-income countries.

The WHO’s two-year pilot project, unveiled on Wednesday, involves the evaluation of insulin developed by manufacturers to ensure their quality, safety, efficacy and affordability.

Read more at: UN News

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