Two Snow Jobs

Two Snow Jobs

Noww before everyone jumps down our throats lets congratulate the folks at Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) for receiving FDA approval for their 670G system. According to a company issued press release;

“Medtronic plc (NYSE:MDT), the global leader in medical technology, today announced it has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of its MiniMed® 670G system – the first Hybrid Closed Loop insulin delivery system approved anywhere in the world. Featuring the company’s most advanced algorithm – SmartGuard(TM) HCL – the system is the latest innovation in Medtronic’s phased approach toward developing a fully automated, closed loop system. Medtronic is committed to simplifying and improving diabetes management through the advancement of smart algorithms that achieve greater glucose control with reduced patient input. Through SmartGuard HCL, the system builds on Medtronic’s industry leading algorithms to offer therapy customization so patients and providers can choose from increasing levels of automation that best fit their diabetes management needs.”

Yes, we guess this is somewhat of a milestone but what it isn’t is a real artificial pancreas. Now this really doesn’t matter all that much as the main stream media is just eating this up. Let’s face it an artificial pancreas, if this actually was one, is the ultimate whiz bang way cool device. Yep it sure would be cool if the patient slapped this sucker on and the way cool whiz bang device did the rest. Too bad that’s not what the 670G does and it’s not even close.

Now we could get on our soap box and remind all those people who are doing cartwheels over this news, that as way cool and whiz bang as the 670G is, it is by no means a for sure commercial hit. We should also remind everyone that for the 670G to function properly to do what it is designed to do, the continuous sensor must first, work and second deliver accurate readings, and as we noted this morning that doesn’t always happen with the Medtronic sensor.

This does not mean the sensor is not getting better, it is. Nor does it mean that the 670G is a bad system, it isn’t. However, it is not a real artificial pancreas. It’s a step in that direction, a small one, but nonetheless a step forward. Will it materially impact sales, doubtful. Will it madden the competition, for sure. Will it change the dynamics of the insulin pump market, nope.

The next piece of news comes from something written by the folks at Motley Fool, the piece was entitled- “Why Johnson & Johnson’s New Wearable for Diabetics Should Be a Home Run”. According to the Fool;

“Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) has good news for the 29 million diabetics in the U.S., as well as the company’s investors: The healthcare conglomerate’s wearable insulin delivery device, OneTouch Via, is being submitted for final FDA approval and has an expected launch within the next twelve months. The device should make life easier for diabetics, since it makes supplemental insulin delivery painless and discrete. Also: since the wearable has basically no competition–being the only on-demand insulin delivery device–it could well bring in sales of $800-$1.3 billion for the company’s lagging medical-devices division.”

Now we could point out the numerous factual errors in that one paragraph, think Donald Trump and you are somewhere in the ballpark, but what we find amazing is that the Fool thinks the Via will be a hit. Yet we also find it amazing that so many people are going to vote for a reality star who is basically a narcissist blowhard who knows nothing about something called the Constitution, which just so happens is an important document. Yet we digress.

Again we will not repeat the list of reasons the Via won’t be a hit, been there done that. What will do is state how gullible the media can be. Granted the people at the Fool aren’t immersed in diabetes as we are, they do not live eat and breathe diabetes 24x7x365. The same is true for the media that thinks the 670G is an artificial pancreas. We don’t blame the main stream for being lazy as it is easier to believe the manure shoveled by PR folk then to even bother to do a little fact checking.  There is something called Google and we’ve heard it’s pretty easy to use.

But why bother when these PR people make life so easy. Why do a little research and find out that yes there are 29 million diabetics in the US but no they don’t all use insulin and even fewer will use the Via. Nor does it matter much that the 670G requires a great deal of patient interaction, the sensor is so-so and that this system will cost a pretty penny. What matters to these lazy main stream media and yes some of the diabetes blogger mafia too, is this is the way cool whiz bang device that everyone had hoped for, a real artificial pancreas, when in fact it’s not even close.

Frankly none of this comes as a surprise to Diabetic Investor. Sometimes people want something so badly they will ignore the facts. This is true not just with Trump supporters, many of whom are very smart people, they want change so badly they will hold their noses and vote for a billionaire blowhard who just might nuke Japan for grins and giggles. It is also true of many in the diabetes community, truly passionate and also smart, as they want so badly for the artificial pancreas dream to become a reality that they ignore the facts, practice willful blindness or both.

As Momma Kliff used to say; “Wanting something to be true is not the same as it being true.” The 670G is a good start but it is not an artificial pancreas. The Via is niche product, a very, very small niche but nothing more. To believe anything else is like believing in the tooth fairy or Santa Claus, this is fine for children but just plain ignorant for anyone over the age of 10.