Monopolists want to create human inkjet printers

The war on your pancreas continues.

Cory Doctorow


A package of HP inkjet ink; it has been modified to incorporate the word- and logo-marks of Insulet and Dexcom. The image on the front of the box has been replaced with a man’s bare stomach; the man is wearing an insulin pump. The sides of the box have been overlaid with a Matrix ‘code waterfall’ effect. The menacing red eye of HAL9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey glares out of the box.Image: Cryteria (modified) CC BY 3.0: https://creativecommons

Even if you don’t have diabetes, you can’t have missed that there’s something really terrible going on with how Americans with diabetes control their illness. Insulin — a century-old drug whose inventors refused any patents — has experienced double-digit, year-on-year price hikes (1123% between 2009–2017 alone!):

Moreover, this is a uniquely American circumstance. In Canada, insulin remains affordable, which is why Americans — especially parents of kids with diabetes — form caravans and cross the northern border to buy insulin from Canadian pharmacies:

It’s why Americans are starting to brew their own insulin:

And it’s why California is getting into the insulin-manufacturing business:

Why do Americans with diabetes go into debt to buy insulin? Why do they ration their insulin, risking comas or even death? In part, it’s the US government’s unwillingness to limit pharma price-gouging. But that can’t be disentangled from the monopolization of the insulin market, an orgy of mergers that allowed a small number of companies to corner the insulin market:

Medical technology is a favorite target of private equity rackets, who understand that when you can threaten your customers’ very lives, they’ll pay — and pay — and pay. That’s why one private equity ghoul celebrated the “golden age of older rectums” before embarking on a spree of colonoscopy monopolization:

More than one in ten Americans have diabetes. 96 million American adults are pre-diabetic. Diabetes disproportionately strikes racialized Americans, who have less political capital and can be abused…