Open Insulin Project Could Help Save Thousands Of Lives And Billions Of Dollars | Techdirt
"Techdirt has written a few times about the pharmaceutical industry's use of "evergreening", whereby small, sometimes trivial, changes are made to drugs in order to extend their effective patent life. It turns out the technique is applied to one of the most widely-used drugs of all, insulin: 'There are currently about 387 million people worldwide living with diabetes. Meanwhile, as discussed by Jeremy A. Greene and Kevin R. Riggs in their March 2015 article in the New England Journal of Medicine, there is no generic insulin available on the market despite great demand in poorer communities and regions of the world. As a result, many go without insulin and suffer complications including blindness, cardiovascular disease, amputations, nerve and kidney damage, and even death. Pharmaceutical companies patent small modifications to previous insulins while withdrawing those previous versions from the market to keep prices up.' The obvious solution is to produce a generic version of insulin that can be sold cheaply enough that nobody dies or suffers complications simply because they cannot afford Big Pharma's hefty price tags. That's just what the Open Insulin project, with its crowdfunding page, aims to do: 'A team of biohackers is developing the first open source protocol to produce insulin simply and economically. Our work may serve as a basis for generic production of this life-saving drug and provide a firmer foundation for continued research into improved versions of insulin.' As well as making insulin more readily available to those in the poorer communities, the Open Insulin project could save Western countries huge sums too ..."