Insulin shortage might be next supply chain crisis

Lest you think the baby formula shortage occurred overnight or is an isolated problem, think again. It can and will be solved with fewer regulations, a worldwide market, a Trumpian style public/private partnership, and a deep reserve. But baby formula is just the tip of the supply chain shortage iceberg. Insulin for example, is a far more chronic problem with deeper roots and just as life-threatening.

As with baby formula, the problem starts with big pharma territoriality, where the definition of chemicals is narrow, and the level of competition is insufficient. Dr. Scott Gottlieb, when he was FDA commissioner, took a big step in adding biosimilars and generic versions of older drugs to the insulin market but these efforts have thus far proven insufficient to keep prices down or ensure sufficient product.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there are 37.3 million people with diabetes in the U.S. which is 11 percent of the U.S. population. An additional 96 million over the age of 18 have prediabetes. 7.4 million Americans with diabetes use one or more formulations of insulin and this number is growing. Unfortunately, the insulin supply is not. Just the opposite, in fact.


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