According to the World Health organisation in a statement on Friday, more than 420 million people are currently estimated to be living with diabetes globally, marking nearly a quadrupling in the past four decades.
The health agency stated that the number of people suffering from diabetes is on the rise even as tens of millions cannot get the insulin they need.
WHO stressed the need to cut prices and increase access to the life-saving medicine.
The global health body added that the number is expected to surge past half a billion by the end of this decade.
According to a WHO official, Kiu Siang Tay “There are significant gaps in access to conditioning globally, particularly in lower-income countries.
In an another development, the WHO decried a betrayal of the solidarity showed by the Canadian researchers who discovered insulin 100 years ago.
Frederick Banting and John Macleod sold the patent for insulin, which transformed a diagnosis of diabetes from a swift death sentence to a manageable disease, for just one Canadian dollar, insisting the discovery “belongs to the world”.
“Unfortunately, that gesture of solidarity has been overtaken by a multi-billion-dollar business that has created vast access gaps,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement.
An estimated nine million people have type 1 diabetes, a chronic condition where the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels.
Most people living with diabetes have type 2, which is associated with obesity and other lifestyle factors and emerges in adults and increasingly among children.
All type 1 diabetics need insulin to survive, and generally, their access is ensured.
Some 63 million people with type 2 meanwhile also need the hormone, according to WHO estimates, but only about half of them can access it.
Diabetes is especially on the rise in lower-income countries, which now account for 80 percent of cases, but the insulin consumption in those countries is lagging due to a range of barriers, it said.