The UN health agency has pointed out that the number of diabetics in the world is increasing, and that a large percentage of them cannot receive the insulin they need to survive.
Currently, it is estimated that more than 420 million people are living with diabetes worldwide, representing almost a quadruple in the last four decades. And that number is expected to exceed 500 million by the end of this decade .
The problem of high prices
Despite a wide supply, high prices make it difficult for many diabetics to access the insulin they need to control their disease. This is particularly the case in low-income countries .
In a new report, the WHO denounced the betrayal of solidarity shown by Canadian researchers who discovered insulin 100 years ago. Because Frederick Banting and John Macleod sold the insulin patent, which transformed a diabetes diagnosis from a speedy death sentence to a manageable disease, for just one Canadian dollar, insisting that the discovery "belongs to the world."
But unfortunately, that gesture of solidarity has been overtaken by a multibillion dollar business that has created huge access gaps. A major problem is that the global insulin market is still dominated by just three companies: Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi, creating a "non-competitive market environment".
To top it off, diabetes is on the rise especially in low-income countries, which now account for 80 percent of cases.