Estimates find that some 10 percent of all Americans have diabetes, but just three companies manufacture the life-saving medicine needed to treat it. That’s believed to explain why diabetes has become the most expensive chronic condition in the United States, with prices doubling between 2012 and 2016.
An organization called Open Insulin hopes to change the calculus by creating open-source alternatives to the insulin made by the Big Three. The non-profit group is producing not only the compositions for insulin, but also hardware equivalents to the production equipment used by major pharmaceutical companies. The idea is that any community around the world could use the instructions to spin up their own small-scale manufacturing and meet local needs.