Fri, 13 Dec 2019

Initiative Aims to Expand Diabetes Treatment

Voice of America
14 Nov 2019, 07:05 GMT+10

GENEVA - On the eve of World Diabetes Day, November 14, the World Health Organization is launching a new initiative it believes will allow greater access to life-saving insulin at lower prices for a greater number of people suffering from diabetes.

More than 420 million people globally suffer from diabetes and are in need of insulin to stay alive. Diabetes, a disease that once mainly affected rich countries, is now most prevalent in low-and-middle-income countries.

Millions Left Behind as Diabetes Drives Surge in Insulin Demand A global diabetes epidemic is fueling record demand for insulin but tens of millions will not get the injections they need unless there is a dramatic improvement in access and affordability, a new study concluded on Wednesday.Diabetes -- which can lead to blindness, kidney failure, heart problems, neuropathic pain and amputations -- now affects 9 percent of all adults worldwide, up from 5 percent in 1980.

There is an ample supply of insulin on the world market. But the medication is costly and unaffordable for most people in developing countries. The World Health Organization says it believes its first-ever insulin prequalification program will make the life-saving treatment widely available to poor people at dramatically lower prices.

The prequalification program is a tool for assessing the quality, safety and efficacy of a medicine. Emer Cooke, director of regulation of medicines and other health technologies at the WHO, says anyone who buys a WHO prequalified medication can be sure that the product is safe and effective.

"We hope that by increasing the number of quality suppliers of insulin there will be a broader price range to cater for less-resourced health systems," said Cooke. "We are also confident that competition will bring prices down. That way countries will have a greater choice of products that are more affordable."

Study: Too Little Sleep Doubles Mortality in Those With Heart, Diabetes Risks People with a common cluster of symptoms that puts them at increased risk of heart disease and diabetes are two times as likely to die as people without those risk factors if they get less than six hours of sleep per night. That was the finding of a new study conducted by researchers at Pennsylvania State College of Medicine and reported in the Journal of the American Heart Association. So-called metabolic syndrome is marked by elevated blood sugar, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and excess...

Three manufacturers control most of the global market for insulin. They set prices that are prohibitive for many people and countries. In the United States, the average price for a month's supply of insulin is around $450.

In the lead-up to this launch, the World Health Organization collected data from 24 countries in four regions of the world. In some countries, the data show a month's supply of insulin could cost between 15 and 22 percent of a worker's take home pay.

Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death. It can lead to costly and debilitating complications, such as heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and lower limb amputations.

Overweight and obesity, as well as physical inactivity are major risk factors for type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes. The disease is treatable with insulin and often preventable with a change of lifestyle that involves better diet and more exercise.

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