A Study Every Company In The Diabetes Sector Should Read

A Study Every Company In The Diabetes Sector Should Read

In today’s issue of Diabetes Care there is a study by Dr. Elbert S. Huang of the University of Chicago. The study found that patients find treating their diabetes was as bad as the complications that can come from poorly controlled diabetes. Although Diabetic Investor does not yet have a copy of the study, we have attached an article from today’s Chicago Tribune that talks about the study.

Diabetic Investor is not surprised or shocked by the study results. Living with diabetes isn’t easy, especially for insulin using patients. Still there are companies who just don’t get it and keep developing products or treatments that add to the burden. Here are just a few examples:

1. Exubera – Besides being insulin, Exubera had the added problem of a cumbersome, non-patient friendly delivery device.

2. Navigator – Although the product is still awaiting approval, the people at Abbott (NYSE:ABT) appear to believe that it’s no big deal that for the first 10 hours the patient wears the device they won’t be able to see the data.

3. Any blood glucose meter that requires the patient to enter a code or chip. Bayer was the first company to understand that the less steps a patient has to go through to test their levels the better.

On the flip side there are companies trying to ease the burden of diabetes. Amylin (NASDAQ:AMLN) with the their long acting once a week version of Byetta is a prime example of a drug that is effective and patient friendly. What’s easier for the patient, swallow two or three pills each day or take an injection once a week? Does anyone realistically believe that a patient will complain about the size of the needle (which will be lubricated and not that much larger than current needles) or the fact that initially the drug will require some mixing? This long acting version of Byetta will truly be paradigm changing when it comes to the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

The same can be said for the OmniPod from Insulet (NASDAQ:PODD) the first wireless insulin pump with automatic cannula insertion.

Add in the new Zero-Click software from AgaMatrix, unlike other software programs that come with glucose meters, as the name implies the patient doesn’t need to do anything. Once the program is installed everything becomes automatic.

Still no matter how patient friendly a drug or device is, this means little without an educated patient. Just as this latest study shed much needed light on the daily burden of living with diabetes, there are a number of studies that show even a small amount of education leads to better outcomes. The fact is the daily burden is easier to bear when the patient understands the benefits of staying compliant.

Yet, this message gets lost at too many companies who insist on developing ever more complicated tools with features that few use or for that group of analysts who said Exubera would be a blockbuster just because the insulin was inhaled rather than injected. These are the same analysts who today are saying the long acting version of Byetta will fail because of needle size or mixing.

As Albert Einstein once said “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

David Kliff
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