Study Predicts Worldwide Insulin Shortage by the Year 2030

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By : Suvarna Sheth

With the number of people with diabetes growing worldwide, a new study finds there will be a shortage of insulin by the year 2030, mainly due to access issues.

The study predicts that by the year 2030, 79 million adults with type 2 diabetes are expected to need insulin, and if current levels remain, only half the people with the condition will actually have access to the life-saving drug.

The researchers stress that access to insulin must be improved, particularly in regions that will be largely affected, namely, Africa, Asia, and Oceania.

“These estimates suggest that current levels of insulin access are highly inadequate compared to the projected need, particularly in Africa and Asia, and more efforts should be devoted to overcoming this looming health challenge,” says Dr. Sanjay Basu from Stanford University, who led the research.

How was the Study Conducted?

The team of researchers analyzed data from the International Diabetes Federation and 14 studies to look at type 2 diabetes numbers across 221 countries.

Looking at the numbers, they predicted what the burden of type 2 diabetes would look like over the next 12 years.

They predicted that the number of adults with type 2 diabetes will rise from 406 million in 2018 to 511 million in 2030.

Of those people, 130 million will be in China and 98 million in India. The U.S. will have the third highest numbers in the world, with 32 million people predicted to have diabetes in 2030.

Based on these numbers, researchers predict insulin use is estimated to increase from 516 million 1000 IU vials per year in 2018 to 633 million per year in 2030.

“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,” Basu says.

He explains the number of adults with type 2 diabetes is expected to rise over the next 12 years due to aging, urbanization, 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,” he adds.

Researchers involved in the study were from Stanford, University College London, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Birmingham University, University of Edinburgh, Yale School of Medicine, University of Michigan, and the University of Geneva.

Funding for the study was provided by the Leona M and Harry B Helmsley Charitable Trust.

The study was published in the journal Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology.