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      Advocacy could help people with diabetes

      2023.05.09 0+

      CHINA DAILY

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      Health experts, diabetes patients and industry insiders said on Tuesday that promoting healthy lifestyles, training grassroots doctors on tailoring insulin therapies, and developing novel and more affordable medicines are some of the key tasks in tackling diabetes in China.

      China has an estimated 141 million adults living with diabetes, accounting for one-fourth of all people living with the disease worldwide, according to data released by the International Diabetes Federation in 2021.

      Ji Linong, head of the endocrinology department at Peking University People's Hospital, said that the number of people under 40 with diabetes has been increasing rapidly in recent years, and such groups are at a relatively higher risk of suffering stroke and heart attack.

      He said that unhealthy lifestyles such as lack of regular exercise and overeating could have deepened the trend.

      Li Yuxiu, deputy head of Peking Union Medical College Hospital's endocrinology department, suggested rolling out advocacy drives targeting young and middle-aged adults. "For patients, education campaigns aimed at increasing their compliance with prescriptions are also important," she said.

      Li added that it is also necessary to improve grassroots doctors' capability to make better use of insulin therapies and learn to tailor delivery options to the condition of individuals.

      They spoke during an event in Beijing celebrating the centennial of the first insulin prescription in China in 1923.

      The first insulin drug used in China was made by United States drugmaker Eli Lilly and prescribed by Peking Union Medical College Hospital to a 41-year-old male.

      One hundred years on, insulin therapies have not only become widely available in China, their prices have also been cut significantly.

      The centralized drug procurement program led by the National Healthcare Security Administration in 2021 saw Eli Lilly lower its insulin price by 73 percent.

      Zhang Rui, a diabetes patient attending the event, said that the program means that the price of each dose of insulin she takes has been reduced from around 70 yuan ($10.20) to less than 24 yuan, and the annual cost of insulin therapies for her is now less than 600 yuan.

      "In the future, our financial burden will be further alleviated if the medicine for insulin injections can be included in centralized procurement," she said.


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