We had two video entries in this year's DiabetesMine Design Challenge presenting the same idea: why not offer colored insulin, which would not only be useful but potentially life-saving for us folks who live on the stuff?

The idea is not entirely new. Diabetes Health magazine had a series of articles / letters to the editor discussing the possibility last year. As you can see by our contest entries, there are two pillars to the argument in favor of coloring insulin —

First, the potential for dangerous mistakes:





And second, those pesky bubbles that plague so many insulin pump users:





We judges thought the idea was brilliant.  What a difference this could make for PWDs on both injections and the pump!

But the hurdle is obvious and pretty daunting: how do you convince the insulin manufacturers to make this a priority — knowing that changing their production methods is a huge, costly affair?

Have the pharma companies ever even seriously considered the possibility?  Looks like the answer is no.  I queried Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, Sanofi-Aventis and received only vague answers such as:

"... a significant change in manufacturing ... would require long discussions and approval not only of the FDA but other regulatory bodies around the world."

"... the stability of the insulins could be impacted by coloring agents and/or new clinical trials or even a new FDA filing may be necessary."

All true -- but these obstacles don't sound insurmountable if the companies believed there was money in selling colored insulin.

Meanwhile, we'll have to continue to rely on "clarity of the product labels": see the official statements from Lilly, Novo and Sanofi in the Diabetes Health followup piece here.

Ugh. Clearly, with clear insulin it's not always clear which one or how much you've taken. Making the stuff colored could indeed impact our health and well being, and possibly save lives.

Many thanks to Amanda Grow and Carrie (aka FoxIs) for their passionate video entries on the topic. We {heart} the name TINTsulin, too!



Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.


This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn't adhere to Healthline's editorial guidelines. For more information about Healthline's partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.