IDF welcomes inclusion of human insulin pens to the WHO Essential Medicines List

01 August 2023

On July 26, the World Health Organization (WHO) published the Executive Summary of the 2023 update of the Model List of Essential Medicines (EML). IDF welcomes the inclusion of human insulin cartridges and pre-filled human insulin pens in this list and the benefits this could yield for people living with diabetes.

Millions of people with diabetes use insulin to manage their blood glucose levels. This includes almost 9 million people living with type 1 diabetes (who cannot live without a stable insulin supply) and several million people living with type 2 diabetes who need insulin to control their diabetes in the best possible way.

According to a survey from T1International, people living with diabetes overwhelmingly prefer pens as insulin delivery method. Pens are friendlier in hot climates, more discreet (which could prevent stigma, notably among school-aged children), safer and more sustainable in locations with unstable electricity supply, more accurate for dosing, and more resistant and easier to use.

The WHO EML is updated every two years with the inclusion of new essential medicines and devices. Most countries use this EML to compile their own national essential medicines lists. The inclusion of insulin pens in the 2023 EML increases the diabetes treatment options for countries and has the potential to make life easier for people who need insulin to manage their diabetes. IDF urges all countries to ensure the availability and affordability of insulin pens for everyone who prefers this method of insulin delivery.

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