Advocating To Define “Affordable” for People With Diabetes

Advocating To Define “Affordable” for People With Diabetes

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Across the globe, patients are spending an unsustainable amount for the insulin and supplies they need to simply stay alive. Some people must spend up to 80% or more of their income on insulin and blood glucose testing supplies alone. Considering it costs $5 or less to produce a vial of insulin, it is an outrage that the price is still so high for so many.

At T1International, we’re tackling this injustice by doing what we know works best: putting patients at the forefront, ensuring our voices are heard, and that people most impacted by the insulin price crisis have the skills to make change. T1International’s Fight for Five campaign aims to lower the cost of insulin and testing supplies through on-the-ground advocacy by people impacted by diabetes, as well as through high-level advocacy targeting organisations like the World Health Organization.

The Global Diabetes Compact was started as a project of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2021 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin. In May of 2022, WHO Member States voted to create global targets for diabetes, including the goal that 100% of people with type 1 diabetes have access to affordable insulin and blood glucose self monitoring. Over the next two years, WHO will be working with technical experts to determine how all of the targets will be measured and achieved.

At T1International, our goal is that everyone with diabetes, no matter where they live, has everything they need to survive and achieve their dreams. We set a goal that no one with diabetes has to spend more than 5% of their monthly income on insulin and blood glucose testing supplies – our campaign to Fight for Five. To achieve this goal, we need The Global Diabetes Compact and WHO to define the word “affordable” as 5% or less of a person’s income on insulin and testing supplies.

As we said in 2022 when the targets were set: We need to have a clear, transparent definition of this term, affirmed by the global diabetes community, in order to understand, act on, and measure the targets.

To kick off Diabetes Awareness Month, the Global Diabetes compact held a two-day meeting where T1International and 35 other organisations in over 25 countries presented the goal of the Fight for Five campaign. We showed the depth and breadth of support for this campaign not only through stories of patients most impacted by lack of affordable and accessible insulin in their home countries, but also by the number of organisations that support a better world for people with diabetes. Watch our video below!

Over the next few months, we hope to continue to build support for a meaningful, powerful, and concrete definition of “affordable” in the global targets for diabetes and the monitoring framework that will be led by WHO. Without a clear and measurable definition of “affordable” we will not be able to:

  • measure and track progress
  • ensure standardisation of datasets for internal collaboration
  • allocate resources effectively
  • build strong advocacy and surveillance campaigns to push for change

Check out the list of organisational campaign signatories here and add your organisation’s voice to our Fight for Five campaign today by signing on here.

We will also continue to put pressure on insulin manufacturers and ask them to do the right thing and lower insulin prices for the most vulnerable. We’re asking them to commit to making all insulin on the WHO’s essential Medicines List available for government contract for $2 or less per vial or $5 or less for a box of pens in low and middle income countries. You can sign that petition here.

Our on-the-ground support of advocates to support their campaigns in our four priority countries of India, Pakistan, Panama, and Zimbabwe also continues. You can support this work by donating

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Open letter to WHO calling for urgent action on meaningful patient engagement

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