It’s become somewhat of a tradition for Diabetic Investor to hand out our Holiday gifts for the diabetes industry. With Hanukkah starting Sunday night and Christmas a week from tomorrow here is our annual Holiday gift list.
1. To Abbott (NYSE:ABT) and Roche – A comprehensive strategy, any strategy at all. As everyone knows Diabetic Investor has not been kind to either company as they both done an outstanding job of running solid franchises into the ground. At least for Abbott they have a way out by selling their diabetes device unit to Bayer. Roche unfortunately can’t seem to find snow in the middle of a blizzard.
2. To every company in Continuous Glucose Monitoring- A study, any study that proves conclusively that CGM improves outcomes and is worth the additional cost. Since the beginning Diabetic Investor has stated that the CGM market will follow a path similar to what insulin pumps did when they first came on the market. So far this has proved to be the case with one huge difference, insulin pump sales were helped immensely by the results of the landmark DCCT study. Simply put DCCT validated the insulin pump market.
The problem for CGM is that of all the studies done to date none have proved that CGM improves outcomes AND is worth the additional cost. Basically CGM will have limited appeal until a study proves that patients are getting better results using a CGM than they could by just using a conventional glucose monitor. To date there has been no head to head study that proves patients using a CGM do significantly better than patients who monitor their glucose using a conventional monitor.
3. To the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – Clarity. President Elect Obama has pledged to bring transparency to the Federal government, let’s hope this transparency extends to the FDA. The fact is millions of patients will continue to suffer if the FDA continues on its present path. While it may seem obvious that drug companies need to know just what the FDA is looking for to approve a new drug the FDA does not have any clear guidelines as to exactly what a diabetes drug should and shouldn’t do. The fact is trying to get any drug approved under current conditions is like Wiley Coyote trying to catch the Road Runner, the target keeps moving and it’s next to impossible to hit a moving target.
4. To all the Insulet (NASDAQ:PODD) wannabes – a real product that actually works and a business model that understands that the insulin pump market is all about customer service. Any idiot can build an insulin pump; it takes real talent to actually run an insulin pump company. Frankly Diabetic Investor is getting just a little tired of hearing about all the great things these Insulet wannabes claim they can do, when they can’t even get a product to the FDA. Enough with all the talk, it’s time to put up or shut up.
5. To all the conventional blood glucose monitoring companies – stop producing more and more meters with fancy features that only a handful of patients actually use and start educating patients as to why they should be monitoring their glucose levels in the first place.
6. To the entire diabetes industry – a comprehensive plan to improve patient education. Until the industry gets behind making patient education a priority we will continue to have nearly two-thirds of patients NOT achieving control. There are numerous studies that prove conclusively that education, not fancy technology or new medications, is the most effective method for improving outcomes. The fact is patients are hungry for education. Certified Diabetes Educators as dedicated and passionate as they are cannot handle the growing number of patients.
The fact of the matter is the industry talks a good game but when it comes to putting their money and influence behind all this talk nothing will get done. As the old saying goes; talk is cheap.
Happy Holidays everyone.