Diabetes drugs priced out of reach

THE Zimbabwe Diabetics Association (ZDA) has called on the government to urgently intervene and reverse the recent massive hike in the prices of key drugs such as insulin, which has been priced out of reach for most ordinary people.

BY VANESSA GONYE

Insulin is a requisite for type one diabetics, but with the price of a pen set of Actraphane, previously sold at $9, now going for $18, most underprivileged patients are struggling to secure the drugs.

The price of Lantus jumped from $21 to $36 per pen, while vials which used to $7 are now at $9 per vial depending with the type of insulin

ZDA president, Tendai Gutu, yesterday said the price hikes were worrisome, coming at a time the country joins the rest of the world in commemorating World Diabetes Day today.

“The recent price hikes on insulin have a heavy weight to many diabetic patients given that all those people are buying medication on their own without government assistance yet there is a plethora of taxes linked to the health levy which is supposed to help ease the burden,” she said.

“It is not fair that people have to fork out so much to get insulin which is a necessity to diabetic patients. If they fail to get it, the ultimate result is death. So there is need for government to act and manage the pricing of insulin to save lives,” Gutu said.

Zimbabwe Diabetes Association president, John Mangwiro also bemoaned the sudden increase in insulin price saying it is high time calls for government intervention on the issue are made, ensuring positive outcomes for the welfare of diabetics.

“The prices are too high, we have to find a way out, people cannot afford the required medication for their conditions; I think we have to engage government to take action because help is a great necessity in ensuring affordability of medication for diabetics,” he said.

Type one diabetes is an autoimmune disease that causes the insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas to be destroyed,
preventing the body from being able to produce enough insulin to adequately regulate blood glucose levels leaving the affected individual reliant on artificial insulin which is injected into the body.

It is usually referred to as insulin dependent diabetes and targets mostly juveniles and teenagers though some adults may be affected.

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