On Monday, the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, announced a lower-priced generic insulin. This announcement follows increased scrutiny of the pharmaceutical industry over rapidly-inflating prices.
Eli Lilly’s generic insulin will be half the cost of it’s brand name version. That cuts the price of a vial from $265.20 to $137.35 a vial. Still rather expensive for a life-saving drug. Especially since insulin was only $21 back in January 1996.
Diabetes and Prediabetes in the US
According to the CDC, more then 100 million US adults have diabetes. Another 84 million people are prediabetic, putting them at risk of developing diabetes. For many of these people, insulin is a life-saving drug. Without insulin they cannot control the life-threatening effects of diabetes on their body.
History of Insulin & Eli Lilly
Prior to 1922 when insulin’s role in diabetes was first understood, diabetes was an often fatal disease. It was poorly treated through diet modification. Pigs and cattle were the source of the first version of insulin used by people from 1922 to 1978. Eli Lilly later developed a synthetic version of human insulin in 1978, called Humulin.
Want to learn more about, arguably, the greatest medical discovery of the 20th Century? Pick up a copy of Michael Bliss’ The Discovery of Insulin