Brazil has the fifth highest number of people with diabetes in the world. In a landmark decision, the Brazilian government announced a plan to localise human insulin production by 2016, saving the country an estimated USD 392 million. Sergio Metzger, President of the IDF South and Central America Governing Task Force and Director of Institutional Relations for the Associação de Diabetes Brasil  (ADJ) gives us more details.
What does this decision mean for people with diabetes in Brazil?
This initiative will mean greater health security and healthier outcomes for people with diabetes. A country like Brazil, which needs 40 million doses of insulin, cannot rely only on one or two companies for production. We hope that when production begins in Brazil, we can finally say goodbye to supply chain issues around exchange rates and logistical problems of getting insulin to those in the most remote parts of the country.
In addition to this breakthrough, how else is the government ensuring essential medicines are available?
As part of President Dilma’s health programme, all people with diabetes, in possession of a prescription and an ID card can access an insulin kit, containing NPH and regular insulin. Metformin, Gliclazide and and Glibenclamide are also available under this scheme.
And what other priorities need further government attention?
The government must continue to ensure that essential diabetes medicines, listed in RENAME, Brazil’s national list of essential medicines, are available. In addition, protocols for the inclusion of analog insulin and fast-acting insulin in new generation oral drugs should be given attention.