The bottle on the left contains Insulin R (for Regular Insulin). Regular Insulin acts relatively fast (over a 4 to 6 hour period) and is generally meant to be taken before a meal. The bottle on the right contains Insulin N (for NPH Insulin). NPH Insulin acts over a broader span of time and more slowly (e.g., a 12 to 18 hour period) and is meant to be taken generally once or twice during a 24 hour period to keep a diabetics' blood glucose from rising significantly.
Many diabetics use R (regular) insulin in conjunction with N or some other long-acting insulin. The consequences of accidently taking Insulin R instead of Insulin N at bedtime would be serious because you could end up having a hypoglycemic reaction during the middle of the night (i.e., extremely low blood glucose levels). Thus, choosing the wrong insulin could be a very serious and possibly deadly mistake.
You would think that the manufacturers would make the two different kinds of insulin bottles a bit more distinguishable than simply differing by one character and one small symbol. This is particularly true for diabetics since some of the common side-effects of diabetes are are vision problems. For a similar bad design example see: What's in the bottle? (Example 1)
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