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Insulin has never become a cheap generic drug in the US because of companies’ small changes to “evergreen” the patent

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h1535 (Published 20 March 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h1535
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. 1London

Drug companies have made incremental improvements to insulin that have kept it as a patented medicine in the United States for more than 90 years, shows a study tracing the drug’s history.

“The history of insulin highlights the limits of generic competition as a public health framework,” said the study authors, Jeremy Greene and Kevin Riggs, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, USA, writing in the New England Journal of Medicine.[1] They warned, “Nearly a century after its discovery, there is still …

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