(HealthDay News) — Testing and approval of generic insulin will be conducted by the World Health Organization in an attempt to combat rising prices and shortages of the drug.

About half of the 80 million people with diabetes worldwide who require insulin cannot afford the medication. The WHO says that new generic versions could create competition that would drive down prices, The New York Times reported.

The global insulin market is controlled by 3 companies — Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi — and they have steadily increased prices for 2 decades.

“Four hundred million people are living with diabetes, the amount of insulin available is too low and the price is too high, so we really need to do something,” Emer Cooke, the WHO head of regulation of medicines and health technologies, said as she announced the generic insulin approval plan, The Times reported.

Reference

McNeil Jr DG. To Drive Down Insulin Prices, W.H.O. Will Certify Generic Versions. New York Times; November 13, 2019. Accessed at https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/13/health/insulin-prices-generic-who.html

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