Broadening Cheap Insulin Choices Is Key to Saving Lives

Jul 20, 2021 by David Wood

Broadening Cheap Insulin Choices Is Key to Saving Lives
Two years ago, the effectiveness of OTC insulins, the cheapest type of insulin currently available, was called into question. This came after the death of Josh Wilkerson, aged 27, made headlines. 

Wilkerson died just months after switching from an analog insulin to the much cheaper OTC type. He was forced to make the switch after he aged off his parent’s insurance plan.

OTC insulins are less commonly prescribed than the newer, more predictable analog types. But these older insulins tend to be much cheaper—often up to ten times cheaper—and are often sought out by those who are uninsured or underinsured.

Despite many claims to the contrary, OTC insulins have a similar efficacy as more expensive analog types. Studies have found that while OTC insulins cause more frequent hypoglycemia, people taking them tend to have similar A1C levels as those using analogs.

But OTC insulins do behave very differently from analogs. They have less predictable and longer absorption rates. And they peak instead of absorbing gradually over a set period.

The problem in situations like Wilkerson’s is not that he was forced to buy an ineffective insulin. It is that he was forced to buy a type of insulin that he had no experience with and that his body did not tolerate well. 

People living with diabetes should have access to affordable insulins that they are familiar with and that they know will work well for them. This means creating a line of low-priced, effective insulins that include analogs as well as OTCs; fast-acting and rapid-acting as well as long-acting. That is exactly what BiologX is trying to do.

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