BACKGROUND: Prevalence rates of patients with diabetes are growing across countries, and Bangladesh is no exception. Associated costs are also increasing, driven by costs associated with the complications of diabetes including hypoglycemia. Long-acting insulin analogues were developed to reduce hypoglycemia as well as improve patient comfort and adherence. However, they have been appreciably more expensive, reducing their affordability and use. Biosimilars offer a way forward. Consequently, there is a need to document current prescribing and dispensing rates for long-acting insulin analogues across Bangladesh, including current prices and differences, as a result of affordability and other issues. METHODS: Mixed method approach including surveying prescribing practices in hospitals coupled with dispensing practices and prices among community pharmacies and drug stores across Bangladesh. This method was adopted since public hospitals only dispense insulins such as soluble insulins free-of-charge until funds run out and all long-acting insulin analogues have to be purchased from community stores. RESULTS: There has been growing prescribing and dispensing of long-acting insulins in Bangladesh in recent years, now accounting for over 80% of all insulins dispensed in a minority of stores. This increase has been helped by growing prescribing and dispensing of biosimilar insulin glargine at lower costs than the originator, with this trend likely to continue with envisaged growth in the number of patients. Consequently, Bangladesh can serve as an exemplar to other low- and middle-income countries struggling to fund long-acting insulin analogues for their patients. CONCLUSIONS: It was encouraging to see continued growth in the prescribing and dispensing of long-acting insulin analogues in Bangladesh via the increasing availability of biosimilars. This is likely to continue benefitting all key stakeholder groups.
- health policy
- insulin glargine