Massive insulin shortage predicted
Type 2 diabetes is soaring worldwide thanks to the obesity epidemic and access to insulin is increasingly inadequate.
Research published in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal (Nov 2018) shows that 79 million people with type 2 diabetes will need insulin by 2030 and that half of them will not be able to get it. About 33 million people who need insulin currently do not have access to the drug.
“These estimates suggest that current levels of insulin access are highly inadequate compared to projected need, particularly in Africa and Asia, and more efforts should be devoted to overcoming this looming health challenge,” said Dr Sanjay Basu from Stanford University, the lead researcher.
“Despite the UN’s commitment to treat non-communicable diseases and ensure universal access to drugs for diabetes, across much of the world insulin is scarce and unnecessarily difficult for patients to access. The number of adults with type 2 diabetes is expected to rise over the next 12 years due to ageing, urbanisation, and associated changes in diet and physical activity. Unless governments begin initiatives to make insulin available and affordable, then its use is always going to be far from optimal.”
The scientists predict the need for insulin will rise by 20 per cent in the next 13 years. The drug reduces the risk of complications such as blindness, amputation, kidney failure and stroke.