Revisiting insulin, as relevant (and expensive) as ever

Season 4-ever – Episode 17 

We’re re-releasing and updating a story we first reported in 2019, about how insulin got to be so horribly expensive,the scientists who discovered it did NOT want price or profits to keep it away from people who need it,and what some people are doing about it, today.

The story seems especially relevant right now, for two reasons:

  1. the COVID vaccine process has reminded all of us how vital it is to BOTH get breakthroughs in the lab AND to make sure everyone can afford to benefit from them.
  2. The second half of the episode,about ways that folks who need insulin are taking action on their own behalf,turns out to have been a sneak preview of this show’s current focus on self-defense.

Also, the whole thing is a wild ride. And: The updates from people we talked to in 2019? All more encouraging than we’d expected.

Black and white photo of two men on a rooftop, with a dog, labeled: "These guys discovered insulin almost 100 years ago. They wanted it to be cheap. They didn't even want to patent it. What the heck happened?" AND: Color photo of Anthony DiFranco, today, holding a plastic model of a complex molecule, with the words: "And: What citizen-scientists, hackers, and activists are doing about it today."

Here’s a transcript for this episode.

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