Must be something in the air

Just this morning we noted how many of the newbies to our wacky world lack historical perspective. We noted that unlike us old guys they do not look at a product or concept and think gee haven’t we seen this before. Unlike veterans they think wow this is way cool and will definitely make a major impact. Whereas we look and laugh thinking yep we’ve seen this movie before and know how it ends. Well as if we needed another example of this take a look at this;

“A new device that combines blood glucose monitoring and insulin delivery and is designed to help people better manage their diabetes has been introduced by LifeScan, a Johnson & Johnson company, and Novo Nordisk A/S. Recently cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the InDuo(TM) System combines into one compact and discreet device two of the daily activities that are essential for many people with diabetes — blood glucose monitoring and insulin delivery.”

Now take a look at this;

“The human innovation company Brighter engaged Veryday in the development of Actiste – a next-generation medical device that will drive behavioral change and improve the lives of people with diabetes.

By combining three essential components of everyday diabetes management (a blood glucose meter, a lancet and an injection pen) into a single device, Brighter offers the user simpler, faster and more accurate treatment than ever before. Thanks to the integration of all necessary functions into one device, the number of steps in daily diabetes treatment is reduced by up to 67 %.”

The first statement comes from a JNJ press release back in .. wait for it .. March 2002. The later statement comes from the Reddot 21 website today or at least we found it today. Not only is the Actiste the InDuo repackaged we encourage everyone to Google both devices look for an image and then put them side by side.

Now we’re not sure how we should feel about this. Our first reaction was boy we are old and have been doing this way too long. Then we thought no we have an obligation to prove a point to show everyone what we have been saying really is true that its not our imagination running away with us. That old is new again, that almost every “new” thing really isn’t new at all just something old that has been repackaged in a shiny new box. That people really think they can put lipstick on a pig and the pig will not be looked upon as a pig but a beautiful swan.

Then we got to thinking about what Lilly (NYSE: LLY) is doing in the insulin pump space, a space that they don’t belong in, a space they don’t understand and a space they will fail in. Yep, Lilly like those before them believe they are building a better mouse trap, that this mouse trap will be “different” and “better” than the mouse traps already available.

Then we thought about all those damn “smart” insulin pens, yep each one thinking they have the best damn mouse trap on the planet. But why stop there what about all the way cool whiz bang clouded enabled systems which come with patient coaching. Or what about all the so-called “wearable” CGM’s. Damn do we feel for that poor dead cat.

In a few weeks our wacky world will gather in Orlando for our annual confab. A few weeks after that we’ll get together again in Baltimore. A few weeks after that Berlin. At each of these events we’ll see lots of what’s old is new again. We’ll see concepts that didn’t work the first time around repackaged. We’ll here lots of about whiz bang way cool cloud enabled. What we won’t see is any data that shows patients are benefiting from all these way cool whiz bang toys. But damn that won’t stop this continued fascination with the toys in the toys chest.

Many will sit around and say hey did you see the data for this way cool whiz bang toy and how great it was. What they won’t say or perhaps don’t want to acknowledge is that maybe 1% of the patient population will actually use this new toy. Just as Nero played on as Rome burned they will be oblivious to those pesky facts.

Yes, it is fun to play with all the new toys even for us old guys. They are way cool and whiz bang. What they aren’t is impactful. What they won’t be is commercially successful. What they won’t do is change patient outcomes in any substantial way. Yep, these companies will garner more money. They will dupe investors into believing they have built a better mouse trap. And ultimately, they will fail only to come back reinvented repackaged and ready to start the cycle all over again.

And people wonder why we’re just a little bit cynical.