Stanford scientists warn of insulin shortage growing to affect 40 million diabetics

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The number of adults with type-2 diabetes is expected to rise over the next 12 years, and so too will the demand for insulin, especially in African countries. The study says that if access does not improve in the coming years, only 30 million will receive insulin to control their type 2 diabetes. "Regardless of these uncertainties, insulin is likely to maintain its place as a crucial therapy for type 2 diabetes, and as such a sufficient global supply needs to be estimated and ensured.Ongoing updates to models such as these that incorporate new data and trends as they accrue, may be the most reliable way of assuring their reliability and relevance to evidence-based care".

Insulin is essential for all people with type 1 diabetes and some people with type 2 diabetes to reduce the risk of complications such as blindness, amputation, kidney failure, and stroke [2].


Researchers from Stanford University projected type 2 diabetes numbers in 221 countries from 2018 and 2030, with half of that group living in China, India and the United States. The quantity of grown-ups with type 2 diabetes is estimated to surge throughout the following 12 years because of urbanization, development, and related changes in eating routine and physical activities.

The Guardian quoted Dr. Sanjay Basu from Stanford University in the U.S., who led the research, as saying the current levels of insulin access are inadequate especially in Africa and Asia, requiring more efforts to overcome this shortage.


Right now, three major manufacturers dominate the insulin market, and the treatment is expensive. It means 98 million Indians will suffer from type-2 diabetes.

During that time, the biggest spike in need could come from Africa, where experts predict the number of people with type 2 diabetes will jump from 700,000 to over 5 million.


Overall, Basu and colleagues calculated that global insulin use was set to rise to 634 million 1,000-unit vials by 2030, from 526 million in 2018. Their study was published Tuesday in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal. "Unless governments begin initiatives to make insulin available and affordable, then its use is always going to be far from optimal", he said. Between 2002 and 2013, the price of insulin tripled although there were only minimal increases in costs associated with the development of the treatment.

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