Brian Godman, Trudy Leong, Abdullahi Rabiu Abubakar, Amanj Kurdi, Francis Kalemeera, Godfrey Mutashambara Rwegerera, Okwen Patrick, Loveline Lum Niba, Kamilou Ibrahim, Adefolarin A Amu, Patrick Matowa, Joseph Acolatse, Robert Incoom, Israel Abebrese Sefah, Sylvia Opanga, Lisper Wangeci Njeri, David Kimonge, Margaret Oluka, Ibrahim Chikowe, Felix Khuluza, Henry Phiri, Dan Kibuule, Ester Hango, Ibrahim Haruna Sani, Oliver Ombeva Malande, Thereza Piloya-Were, Luke Alutuli, Aubrey Chichonyi Kalungia, Blessmore Vimbai Chaibva, Trust Zaranyika, Mainul Haque, Eleonora Allocati, Stephen Campbell, Eunice Twumwaa Adwubi, Olayinka O. Ogunleye
Background: Prevalence rates of diabetes mellitus are growing across Africa with an appreciable number likely to be on insulin to manage their condition. This has significant implications on future morbidity and mortality exacerbated by high complication rates. Complication rates in patients requiring insulins are enhanced by hypoglycaemia. Long acting insulin analogues were developed to reduce hypoglycaemia and improve patient compliance. However, they are typically appreciably more expensive than human and other insulins in Africa, and continuing controversies surrounding their benefits limits their listing on national Essential Medicine Lists (EMLs). Biosimilars can reduce the prices long-acting insulin analogues. This needs assessing.
Methods: Mixed methods approach including documentation of insulin utilisation patterns and prices among a range of African countries. In addition, input from senior level government, academic, and healthcare professionals from across Africa on the current situation with long-acting insulin analogues as well as potential changes needed to enhance future funding of long-acting analogue biosimilars.
Results: There is variable listing of long-acting insulin analogues on national EMLs across Africa due to their high prices and issues of affordability. Even when listed, utilisation of long-acting insulin analogues is limited by similar issues including affordability. Appreciably lowering the prices of long-acting insulin analogues via biosimilars should enhance future listing on EMLs and use accompanied by educational and other initiatives. However, this will require increased competition to lower prices.
Conclusion: There are concerns with value and funding of long-acting insulin analogues across Africa including biosimilars. A number of activities have been identified to improve future funding and listing on EMLs.