22 November – A new study on insulin access for people living with diabetes predicts that 40 million people with this disease will remain without vital medicine by 2030, especially in the regions of Africa, Asia and Oceania.
As the number of people living with diabetes continues to grow, access to insulin needed to meet growing demand will be reduced, a study published in the journal Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology suggests.
Diabetes, which can lead to blindness, kidney failure, heart problems, neuropathic pain and amputations, currently affects nine percent of the world's older people, an increase of five percent compared to 1980 levels.
Researchers say insulin demand for effective treatment of type 2 diabetes will increase by more than 20% over the next 12 years, but insulin will be unattainable for half of the 79 million type 2 diabetics is predicted to they need it in 2030.
By 2030, 79 million adults with type 2 diabetes are expected to need insulin to control their condition, and if current levels of access are maintained, only half of them will be able to get adequate supply, the study funded by Helmsley Charitable Trust.
Access to the drug needs to be significantly improved, scientists warn, especially in the regions of Africa, Asia and Oceania that will be most affected.
"These estimates indicate that current levels of insulin access are very inadequate compared to anticipated needs, especially in Africa and Asia, and more needs to be done to overcome this emerging health challenge," said Sanjay Basu. Stanford Medical Professor who runs the study.
"Despite the United Nations' commitment to treating non-communicable diseases and providing universal access to diabetes medicines, insulin is scarce and difficult to access in most of the world," he recalls.