The 10 Most Expensive Liquids in the World
Editor’s Note: Need help accessing insulin in the United States? Head to GetInsulin.org to create a customized access plan—find copay cards and assistance programs you may qualify for based on your location, types of insulin you use, income level and insurance coverage.
People with diabetes—all people with type 1 diabetes and latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA), many people type 2 diabetes and more—rely on injections of a certain life-saving liquid called insulin. But have you ever wondered what the exact cost of insulin is? And how does it weigh in (per gallon) against the most expensive liquids in the world? Hint: It’s a heavy weight! Let’s take a look, shall we?
10. Human Blood: $1,500 per gallon
The actual acquiring of human blood isn’t all that difficult, considering we all have it! However, the processing of the blood after donation can be very expensive depending on where in the world the buying and selling of it is occurring.
9. Gamma Hydroxybutyric Acid (GHB): $2,500 per gallon
Depression, insomnia and narcolepsy are just three of the disorders that GHB can be used to treat—as it is commonly used as an anesthetic in medicine. It is found in the human central nervous system.
GHB is also well known by its nickname when used illegally: the “date rape drug.”
8. Black Printer Ink $2,700 per gallon
No matter the price of your printer itself, the printer’s ink always costs far more, and the manufacturer for each printer and its corresponding ink is the one and the same.
7. Mercury $3,400 per gallon
Mercury is not as widely used in the production of medical tools (such as thermometers) as it used to be due to its toxicity. However, it remains to be the only liquid metal that remains liquid at room temperature, it can be used to conduct electricity, and in vapor form it is used in street lighting and fluorescent bulbs.
6. Insulin $9,400* per gallon
Insulin is a hormone naturally produced in a healthy pancreas but is very expensive to produce in its biosynthetic form.
Formerly just $25 per vial in the U.S. in the late ’90s then creeping up to around $100 by 2000, insulin prices tripled between 2002-2013, with a vial currently costing up to $350 or more. The price hike isn’t because the insulins are better, but because of a murky behind-closed-doors system between insulin manufacturers, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), insurance companies and other payers. Learn more about it here.
*The price of $9,400 per gallon was published by HF Magazine, though any person with diabetes out there can do the math themselves … we’ve seen conclusions ranging from $15,000 —$100,000.
Warning Signs of Type 1 Diabetes: thirst, frequent urination, (in babies and toddlers) heavy diapers, (in children with no previous concerns) sudden bedwetting, weight loss (despite an increased appetite), fatigue or weakness, blurry vision, a fruity smell to the breath, stomach pain, nausea or vomiting, rapid, heavy breathing, loss of consciousness.
5. Chanel No. 5 $26,000 per gallon
One of the most widely known fragrances in the world, Chanel No. 5 was first produced in 1922 through the collaboration of chemist, Ernest Beaux, and Coco Chanel. Coco Chanel selected vial #5 of the samples that Beaux presented her with, due to her fondness for the number 5. The name was kept.
4. Horseshoe Crab Blood $60,000 per gallon
The blood of horseshoe crabs is used and harvested in high quantities today to test that a wide range of medical products are not contaminated. Horseshoe crab blood is blue in color, and its unique response to bacterial toxins was discovered over 50 years ago.
3. Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) $123,000 per gallon
Very widely used in the 1960s as a hallucinogenic drug, LSD is made from the crystalline compound, Lysergic acid, prepared from natural ergot alkaloids. Just one gallon of LSD would provide enough hallucinogens for approximately 55,000 people.
2. King Cobra Venom $153,000 per gallon
With venom capable of killing a full gown elephant, the King Cobra is the most poisonous snake known to the world.
The King cobra’s venom also contains a unique protein called ohanin. Ohanin is being used today in the form of a painkiller that is 20 times more potent than morphine.
1. Scorpion Venom $39,000,000 per gallon
Scorpions use their venom as a defense against predators and to kill prey, but only 25 species of scorpion have venom that would be lethal to humans.
The protein found in scorpion venom, however, can be used to treat pain in humans who suffer from multiple sclerosis (MS), inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis.