Looking Ahead to 2011

Looking Ahead to 2011

As the final hours of 2010 tick away it’s time for what has become a Diabetic Investor tradition, the year in review and look ahead to the New Year. In many respects 2010 was no different than 2009 or 2008 as many trends continued and will continue into 2011. There is no hope, that by some miracle, the glucose monitoring market will turnaround or that conditions will improve for the insulin pump market. The simple fact is when it comes to diabetes devices it’s really a case of been there done that. We’ll see some incremental enhancements in 2011, but nothing that will knock anyone’s socks off.

When it comes to devices the future is pretty clear, glucose monitors, insulin pens and insulin pumps will become “smarter” and offer greater connectivity. This really isn’t all that new as this trend has been developing for the past few years as companies begin to realize that new technology by itself will not increase sales, however technology that actually helps the patient more effectively and that makes their lives easier will win out. It would seem pretty obvious that technology with a real world practical purpose is better than just technology but when it comes to companies in the diabetes device market nothing is ever obvious until nothing else works.

Looking ahead to the drug market the picture for 2011 is less clear, mainly due to our friends at the FDA. Diabetic Investor remains skeptical that the agency has seen the error of their ways and will all of sudden get back to their mission and start using real scientific evidence when looking at new drugs. The stark reality here is the FDA like so many of our government agencies has become overly politicized. Fear, rather than science, continues to drive their decisions and change, no matter how desperately it is needed, will come slowly, if at all. Never mind that millions of patients will needless suffer or that potentially paradigm shifting technologies are stalled at the agency. The unfortunate reality is the FDA cares more about protecting their turf than they do about helping patients and this does not just apply to patients with diabetes but all patients.

On a positive note Diabetic Investor does see 2011 as the year patient education finally becomes part of companies marketing efforts. Diabetic Investor does not believe that companies have found religion. The bottom line when it comes to patient education is exactly that, the bottom line. The simple fact is new technology isn’t improving sales and the old worn out marketing methods are just that, old worn out and ineffective. Diabetic Investor has documented the many benefits of patient education in the past and 2011 looks to be the year when companies begin to dip their toes in the water. It remains to be seen whether or not companies can get out of their own ways and use education effectively, still any effort is better than what we have seen in the past.

Looking even further ahead Diabetic Investor sees another trend continuing in 2011, in that we are moving beyond stand-alone systems and diabetes management will become more of a team effort.  We will move beyond device connectivity and into systems that provides patients with instant feedback and recommendations. Information will not only be shared with the patient’s physician but with the patient’s permission, this information will be shared with their pharmacy, educator and insurer. Diabetic Investor believes this team management approach will get off to a slow start as like any new technology patients can be somewhat skeptical. However, there is no question where diabetes management is headed, it is not a question of if this will happen, rather when will this approach move beyond early adaptors and into the hands of the masses.

For Diabetic Investor 2011 will begin as always headed to the west coast for the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference. Frankly we wouldn’t know it was a new year unless we spent the first part of the year in that beautiful city by the bay, San Francisco.

Diabetic Investor would like to wish everyone a happy, healthy, safe and prosperous New Year. May 2011 brings us all one step closer to the ultimate goal of one day finding a cure. As much as we enjoy covering the industry we would like nothing better than to be put out of business. And we suspect there are just a few of you who would enjoy this as well, just for different reasons. Happy New Year!!!