Ya Think

Ya Think

According to a study published yesterday in the Annals of Internal Medicine; “Evidence supports metformin as a first-line agent to treat type 2 diabetes. Most 2-drug combinations similarly reduce hemoglobin A1C levels, but some increased risk for hypoglycemia and other adverse events.”

Now Diabetic Investor does not want to diminish the excellent work of the many authors (14 authors to be exact) who worked on this particular study however the fact that “evidence supports metformin as a first-line agent to treat type 2 diabetes” is like stating the New York Yankees have money to spend on ballplayers. Talk about overstating the obvious.

Perhaps a better question we should be asking is why the authors wasted their time and someone else’s money to study something that is already well known. Metformin has been around for years, is the most widely used therapy option for Type 2 diabetes, it’s benefits and side effect profile are well known and it’s a generic. Diabetic Investor did not need yet another worthless study to tell physicians and patients what we have all known for many years.

Given their zest for worthless knowledge for their next act look for these authors to perform a study that concludes insulin is an effective therapy for type 2 patients who fail to control their diabetes using oral medications but carries with it the risk of hypoglycemia. Or perhaps another study that concludes that GLP-1 therapy looks to be a promising new agent for type 2 patients that carries with it the additional benefit of weight loss, while promising there are some unknown risk factors i.e. pancreatitis and thyroid cancer which should be cause for further study. Finally they could study DPP-4’s and conclude drugs from this class really don’t do much for type 2 patients but since the FDA screwed things up for Avandia and Actos physicians were running out of options and Januvia was one of the few pills they could prescribe without worrying about getting sued by their patients.

While we don’t believe there is connection between this groundbreaking, earth shattering study and the a new advertising campaign being launched by LifeScan, see if these words sound familiar – “OneTouch understands that people living with diabetes don’t want to be defined by their disease. They want to know that they’re successfully managing their diabetes so that they can, in essence, put their life first.” These words of diabetes wisdom come from Michel Paul, Company Group Chairman, Johnson and Johnson Diabetes Care Franchise, which includes LifeScan. 

Gee imagine that people with diabetes don’t want to be defined by their disease. Maybe just maybe LifeScan is on to something here perhaps it’s possible that patients with diabetes want to live their lives with their diabetes and not for their diabetes (seems we’ve heard that somewhere else too). Maybe just maybe pretty meter colors are worthless when it comes to getting patients to monitor their glucose regularly. Perhaps patients don’t care about their super-duper test strips that are super superior and deliver unbelievably incredibly accurate test results.  Perhaps just maybe patient’s want a meter that doesn’t require a PhD to operate that delivers an accurate result and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Diabetic Investor does not want to be overly cynical here but the good folks at LifeScan, who are losing share these days, haven’t a clue what it’s like to be a patient with diabetes otherwise they wouldn’t come up with advertising campaigns that boarder on being insulting to patients with diabetes. Although we don’t know Mr. Paul we doubt he has ever tested his glucose levels on a regular basis or worried about everything he eats or experienced a hypoglycemic episode. We doubt Mr. Paul has ever lived the life patients live each and every day of their lives. And we were pretty sure like so many in the business today everything he has learned about diabetes has come from a spreadsheet.

Who knows for his next act he just might come up with the brilliant idea of selling special containers so that patients can properly dispose of their used test strips. Seeing how the FDA seems to believe that patients with diabetes act like heroin addicts sharing their meters with reckless abandon or leaving used test strips lying around to be picked up by unsuspecting patients who just happen to have an open wound, why not solve this huge problem and make a buck at the same time. Diabetic Investor can see it now a whole new line of meters in pretty colors that have matching accessories that come in equally pretty colors.

Never mind that this won’t sell one more test strip or provide the patient with anything that’s actually useful, like some diabetes education, LifeScan can turn meters into a fashion statement. Rather than use blues legend BB King as their spokesman, why not Lady Gaga?

Diabetic Investor has a suggestion for the many executives at the various meter companies, spend a month living your life as if you actually had diabetes. Test your glucose levels 4 or more times each day like so many patients do. Each time you eat calculate how many carbs you’ll be eating and then figure out how much insulin you need to stay within your target range. Make sure you have glucose tablets or liquid in your briefcase, at your desk or in your car just in case you experience a hypoglycemic moment. Go to your doctor and share with him your glucose readings which you have painstakingly recorded and watch him ignore this information basically telling you that all your hard work is worthless.

Actually use all this fancy technology that your company has invented. Go ahead attach your meter to your computer and then ask yourself why isn’t this process easy and why don’t we make it easier using Bluetooth technology. Download all those fancy apps and actually try and use them as you think they are supposed to be used and then ask yourself just who has the time to do all this work.

The simple fact is there are too many people in the business of diabetes who don’t have a clue to what it’s actually like to live with diabetes day in and day out. They think they can learn diabetes from some spreadsheet or worse from some friend who has diabetes. This is the reason time and time again we see stupid studies that tell us what we already know and equally stupid advertising campaigns that are insulting to the people who have to live with diabetes. All of this would stop if these people who think they know what it’s like to live with diabetes actually tried to live their lives as if they had diabetes. Diabetic Investor would wager that by the time they stopped pretending there would be a major change at how they looked at those spreadsheets.