On World Diabetes Day, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has called to promote better access to biosimilar insulins and medical devices for diabetes care.
According to the WHO, around 422 million people have diabetes, and 1.5 million deaths are directly attributed to diabetes every year around the world.
A year ago, WHO published a report, ‘Keeping the 100 year old promise: making insuln access universal’, which outlines how, despite the wishes of the discoverers of insulin, access to insulin and associated devices, still remains limited in many countries today.
The report outlines the many barriers to access and proposes actions to address them.
Also, in a statement issued by WHO stated, “In the WHO South-East Asia Region, more than 96 million people are estimated to have diabetes, and another 96 million to be pre-diabetic, causing at least 600 000 deaths annually. By 2045, unless urgent action is taken, the prevalence of diabetes in the Region is expected to increase by 68 per cent.”
Those actions include: improving the availability of human insulin and insulin analogues, especially biosimilar products; enhancing the affordability of human insulin and insulin analogues; addressing access problems associated with devices to support the appropriate use of insulins; building capacity and investing in infrastructure to support access to insulins; and supporting R&D.
The statement highlighted the seriousness of Diabetes and said that if detected late, or improperly managed, can lead to serious and life-threatening damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and nerves.
At its 23rd meeting, the WHO Expert Committee on the Selection and Use of Essential Medicines discussed the importance of reducing uncertainties about the use of biosimilars for increasing access to effective biological medicines including the need for strategies to promote interchangeability at the procurement and clinical level.
The Committee thus recommended that quality-assured biosimilars, including insulin, should be considered interchangeable.
According to the statement, the region continues to take targeted action to address diabetes, in line with its Flagship Priorities on preventing and controlling noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and achieving universal health coverage (UHC), as well as its recently adopted Implementation Roadmap on NCD prevention and control 2022-2030.