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History of diabetes and insulin drug pricing Sanofi Lilly Novo Nordisk



Diabetes, a group of conditions in which the body can’t properly regulate blood sugar, affects roughly 30 million people in the US.

And for many people living with diabetes — including the 1.25 million people in the US who have Type 1 diabetes — injecting insulin is part of the daily routine.

Insulin, a hormone that healthy bodies produce, has been used to treat diabetes for almost a century, though it’s gone through some modifications.

In the past decade, the list prices of insulin have risen about 300%. This has drawn criticism from patients who have to pay the high cost as well as from politicians, who are going after drugmakers over their prices.

Here’s the story of how the critical diabetes medicine became what it is today.

This article was initially published in 2016 and has been updated.

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