Global Health Justice

June 21, 2024

Profit Over Patients: Insulin Pen Shortage in South Africa

By Alina Metje, GHJ Team

South Africa is running out of insulin pens due to Novo Nordisk’s decision not to renew its contract, focusing instead on more profitable weight- loss drugs. The shift to vials represents a step backward in diabetes care. Vials and syringes are harder to use and less precise, raising concerns about medication adherence and long-term complications.

The situation underscores a broader issue: the prioritization of profit over equitable healthcare access, leaving vulnerable populations in low- and middle- income countries (LMICs) struggling with outdated and less effective treatments. 80% of people with diabetes live in LMICs. However, drugs like the Ozempic pen, commonly used for diabetes treatment in high- income countries, are not included in the World Health Organization’s essential medicines list or the diabetes treatment guidelines of LMICs.

Read the full article by Stephanie Nolen here


Image Source: NY Times