Awareness – Are you kidding?
November has been pegged as diabetes month and today is World Diabetes Day. Like we need a month or day to remind everyone that diabetes is growing at epidemic rates and is not just a global healthcare crisis but also a financial crisis. Listen if people don’t know this by now they are as clueless as Chicago Bears head coach John Fox calling for a replay which ends up costing us the game, but we digress.
This month you’ll see lots of stories like the one posted by Reuters which stated;
“The number of people living with diabetes has tripled since 2000, pushing the global cost of the disease to $850 billion a year, medical experts said on Tuesday.
The vast majority of those affected have type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity and lack of exercise, and the epidemic is spreading particularly fast in poorer countries as people adopt Western diets and urban lifestyles.
The latest estimates from the International Diabetes Federation mean that one in 11 adults worldwide have the condition, which occurs when the amount of sugar in the blood is too high.
The total number of diabetics is now 451 million and is expected to reach 693 million by 2045 if current trends continue.
The high price of dealing with the disease reflects not only the cost of medicines but also the management of a range of complications, such as limb amputations and eye problems.”
Think about that first paragraph just for a moment and then think of all the time and money that has been wasted in the pursuit of way cool whiz bang toys that have done nothing to improve the lives of millions of patients with diabetes. Think of how so many have enriched themselves, yet patients aren’t getting any better.
It’s these numbers that companies use as ammunition when raising money. Each company claims they have the secret sauce the magic potion that will change these numbers. When the fact is no one has the secret sauce and there is no magic potion. The reality is diabetes isn’t about patients its about money – who spends it, who saves it and who makes it.
At this very moment insulin pump patients wonder whether the company that makes their life sustaining device will be around to support it. Others worry about whether they can afford the drugs that keep them alive. Sadly, far too many patients wonder why companies are making their lives more complex and not easier.
Yes, there are answers however no one wants to listen. Rather than acknowledge the system is broken, that the old way of doing things just doesn’t work they continue along the same path that has proven one thing; it doesn’t work. Rather than listen to patients they give these people lip service and do what’s best to hit next quarters numbers.
As we have said many times we could care less if companies make billions and executives make millions IF patients were getting the help they need. But as these numbers point out the situation isn’t getting better and in many ways, it’s getting worse, a lot worse.
Yes, there will be lots of pontificating, lots of awards and acknowledgement of those who have made contributions to diabetes, but they are shallow efforts that avoid the real problem. Again, go back to the first paragraph of the Reuters story the number of patients has TRIPLED since 2000 and the global cost is almost a TRILLION dollars annually.
We can remember when we first started writing Diabetic Investor when we told Momma Kliff that we are probably the only business that wants to be put out of business. That we would cherish and celebrate the day when that happened. Sadly, we are no closer to that day then we were 20 years ago.
Even worse we have the tools available that could help make patients’ lives much easier IF they were used. We have some of the best drugs which if taken as prescribed would go a long way towards making patients lives better. Yet instead of focusing on the basics, the blocking and tackling of diabetes, nope it’s all about way cool whiz bang. It’s all about the toys in the toy chest. And it’s all wrong but no one is listening, no one seems to care as long as the money cycle continues.
Our dream is that one day the world will awaken and realize that it’s time for the patients’ needs to come before the money cycle. That plenty of money can be made by putting the patient first. But this dream gives way to the nightmare that when it comes to diabetes it’s all about the bucks.