President Joe Biden claimed on Tuesday that he spoke with the doctor who invented insulin — a doctor who was so selfless that he refused to patent the drug and profit from its use — but Dr. Frederick Banting died nearly two years before the president was born.
President Biden spoke about what his administration had been doing to lower health care costs for American families, touting his efforts to specifically bring down the cost to consumers for prescription drugs like insulin — and he claimed to have spoken with the doctor who invented it.
Joe Biden claims that he spoke to the man who invented insulin. pic.twitter.com/FLjIZ1jPdE
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) November 1, 2022
“How many of you know somebody with diabetes? Needs insulin?” Biden asked as he paced back and forth behind the lectern. “Well, guess what? And … when we … when Debbie and I passed this law, it included everybody — not just seniors.”
“And so, what happened was, we said okay, you know how much it costs to make that insulin drug for diabetes? Cost,” Biden continued. “It was invented by a man who did not patent it because he wanted it available for everyone. I spoke to him, okay?”
But Dr. Frederick Banting, who was one of the doctors who discovered insulin in 1921 — refused to put his name on the patent — passed away in February of 1941. Joe Biden was not even born until November of 1942 — some 21 months later.
Banting received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for 1923 following his discovery. His assistant, Dr. Charles Best, was a medical student at the time and assisted with the discovery. He did put his name on the patent, along with Dr. James Bertram Collip, who helped refine it, but the two sold the patent to the University of Toronto for $1.
All three believed that it would not be ethical for them to take profits from something that could potentially save thousands or even millions of lives.
Physiologist John MacLeod, who also chose not to be named on the patent, played a role in the discovery, but had passed away in 1935. While both Drs. Collip and Best were still living after Biden was born, he ruled them out as the ones he spoke to because they did ultimately put their names on the patent.