The 10 Most Expensive Liquids in the World


*Editor’s Note: since this piece was published in May 2016, insulin prices in the United States have continued to climb. Please visit our Focus on Access page for more information about what we’re doing and how you can help. 

Type 1 diabetics 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 nick name 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 very expensive to produce in its biosynthetic form. As we know – (or should know!) insulin is a hormone naturally produced by healthy pancreases.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, insulin prices tripled between 2002-2013 and seem to be steadily on the rise. A more affordable way to produce insulin is reportedly in development, introducing the human gene into plants to then produce it themselves.

*The price of $9,400  per gallon was published by HF Magazine, though any PWD 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.

Enraged by the sky-high cost of insulin? Visit our Access Page.

WRITTEN BY Alexi Melvin, POSTED 05/19/16, UPDATED 06/23/21

Alexi Melvin is a freelance journalist and screenwriter based in the Bay Area. She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2003, and has been passionate about raising awareness ever since. Her other passions include film, animals and spiritual healing.