At sundown tonight Jews around the world will begin celebrating Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. Over the next eight days a candle will be lit, and gifts exchanged. In honor of Hanukkah we have some gifts for all of us in the wacky world. So, without any hesitation lets get to it.
1. To Lilly (NYSE: LLY) and Novo Nordisk (NYSE: NVO) good luck as today the FDA approved Admelog Sanofi’s (NYSE: SNY) biosimilar version of Humalog. Just as Basaglar from Lilly devastated the long-acting insulin market, Admelog will do the same for the short-acting market. This should be slam dunk for Sanofi and even with their noted ineptitude it’s difficult seeing them screw this one up but then again if anyone can screw up a sure thing our money is on our wine drinking friends.
2. More good luck to Novo who has begun marketing Ozempic their once-weekly GLP-1 to physicians. Novo will do their best to convince everyone that Ozempic is different than Trulicity or Bydureon but the only way this drug gets into the hands of patients will be when Novo offers payors huge discounts combined with hefty rebates. Say hello to a price war and goodbye to margins.
3. To Abbott (NYSE: ABT) who as we noted yesterday has gone nuclear to grow share for the FreeStyle Libre. It turns out Abbott is running radio ads in selected markets warning Dexcom (NASDAQ: DXCM) patients that the system has an issue when the patient uses any drug which contains acetaminophen. The ad not only lists several commonly used drugs which contain acetaminophen but mentions that the label for the Dexcom which covers this known issue. Of course, the ad mentions that the Libre does not have this issue and patients should consider switching.
Now we don’t want to say these ads are cheesy, but they are. We don’t want to say these ads are misleading, but they are. We don’t want to say that Abbott is classless for running these ads, but they are. We will say many physicians who have heard these ads aren’t happy with Abbott.
We’ve also become aware of the company running promotions in selected markets offering patients a fixed out of pocket cost for Libre sensors. Telling patients sensors will cost just $25. That’s all fine and dandy expect for the fact Abbott will lose money at that price point but what the heck when your big company with tons of dough why bother with such mundane and outdated concepts as making money.
Listen we have no problem with Abbott giving away a free receiver and sensor to Dexcom patients who convert. We may think this is overkill but hey it’s not an out of bounds marketing tactic. We do have a problem however running cheesy, misleading ads that are basically scare tactics. This is totally classless and unnecessary.
4. To Tandem (NASDAQ: PODD) who continues to spend money as if they have it, they don’t and by our quick math have about 3 months to live before they run out of money, we are begging you to do right by patients. Listen we know everyone has come in kicked the tires, we know that private equity has sniffed but no one has stepped up to the plate. Without a MAJOR capital infusion, it’s over and Tandem patients will suffer the same fate as Animas patients. At least Johnson and Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) had the decency to offer Animas patients an option. They did not just close their doors and tell patients to go F themselves. People may not have liked they did a deal with Medtronic (NYSE: MDT) but that’s a hell of lot better then telling patients to bend over and take it. FOR ONCE DO THE RIGHT THING DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PATIENTS OUT IN THE COLD.
5. To all the conventional meter companies who have way cool whiz bang cloud enabled point to point fingerstick meters, please go away and go quietly into the night. Please wake up to the fact that CGM is becoming the standard for glucose measurement. Yes, your systems are whiz bang and way cool, but they are also old technology just in fancy new package. As Momma Kliff said you can put lipstick on a pig but that doesn’t remove the stench of the pig sty.
6. To all the companies who want to enter the insulin pump market, and this includes our friends at Lilly – remember this is NOT ABOUT THE DAMN TOYS IN THE TOY BOX AND ANY IDIOT CAN BUILD AN INSULIN PUMP. Remember that building the damn thing is easy part, selling it, supporting it, getting it reimbursed and making money doing this is the hard part. And you don’t have to believe us just ask the people at Asante, Roche, Smiths Medical, JNJ and Disetronic.
7. To our friends at OneDrop stop trying to pass off self-reported data combined with fuzzy math as proof of anything. DO A REAL CLINICAL TRIAL WITH INDEPENDENTLY VERIFIED DATA. Yes, we know this takes time and it costs money but that’s what REAL companies do. People know bullshit when they see it and your pilling it up.
8. To all the cash rich high-tech companies who are making the deep dive into diabetes. It takes more than money to make a difference. This money must be wisely spent. Please do not keep throwing money at toys that won’t make a damn bit of difference. Do what made you cash rich in the first place THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX. You have a unique opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of patients, but this opportunity will be wasted if you do the same thing everyone else has done, if you fall into the same traps as those came before you. Don’t just take an old concept that didn’t work, put it in a shiny new box and believe that it will work. BE DIFFERENT, THINK DIFFERENT.
To everyone even non-tribe members have a Happy Healthy and Fun Hanukkah.