After we learned that Sanofi CEO Olivier Brandicourt was barely getting by on $8.2 million last year, a lode was lifted from our shoulders when we learned that Lilly CEO Dave Ricks racked in $17.3 million last year. Now we don’t know what Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen the CEO for Novo Nordisk took down last year but our guess he’s the same ballpark as Olivier and Mr. Ricks. Not that we have anything against these guys racking in the doe but it’s easy to understand why patients and patient advocates would like to beat them with a heavy bat after picking up their month’s supply of insulin.
The fact is none of these gentlemen have a direct impact or much to do with how much a patient actually pays for insulin. And let’s give Lilly credit for launching their “half-price” insulin forcing Sanofi and Novo to respond while throwing PBM’s under the bus too, for that little PR masterpiece Mr. Ricks should get a raise.
Yet when you strip away these “generous” pay packages it’s nothing to compared to the millions more like billions that have been wasted all these years with no noticeable improvements in patient outcomes. We’re about to see more of that when Livongo goes public and their executives and management lucky enough to have stock options cash out. Again we have nothing against this but just once we’d like to see the patient get something out of all this money being thrown around.
Oh well, let’s move on.
Recently there has been lots of noise in the connected pen space, a space we think will be owned by the insulin companies, yet we can’t help but feel that as much as they should own it right now they seem to be doing everything they can to give up ownership. Our theory is and actually its more than a theory is these companies with their huge scale will find a way to make their “smart” pen so cheap they can give it away. That their goal isn’t to make money on the toy but the drug in the toy.
While we’re certain all the “smart” pen companies would disagree it’s not rocket science to get the pen to talk with a patients smartphone/app. This as Momma Kliff says is the easy part. The more interesting part is what happens once that data gets to the smartphone/app. This being a medical device this means there’s lots of intellectual property floating around and this my friends in when the fun begins.
After reaching out to some experts on med device IP we weren’t shocked to learn that no one company has cornered the IP for connected pens. We were a little surprised by some of the companies who own some IP but overall this isn’t like the insulin pump space where Medtronic owns a ton of IP. While no lawsuits have been filed YET this is America and you can take it to the bank or ATM that this won’t last for long.
Although it may not seem like an opportunity these coming lawsuits could have a silver lining. See they always start out like a divorce hey we want to be friends so let’s just work out something fair for each of us. Then the lawyers get involved and all of a sudden, a couple that once loved each other is fighting over visitation rights for their pet gold fish. But in the wacky world of diabetes one side just might capitulate not because they had a change of heart rather, they have no choice.
Having been around this space for a few years we have seen this movie before. A large company wants to make a device, management says make this toy and make it cheap. The engineers go to work and since this toy will be a copy of an existing toy, they “borrow” things from the existing toy. Keep in mind these are engineers who know nothing about IP, law school was on the other side of campus. So they make it they test it and they tool up to launch their fabulous copycat toy.
Just when it looks like this way cool whiz bang toy will join all the other way cool whiz bang toys this very large company gets a letter from a smaller company stating in the politest way possible hey you stole our idea and if you don’t pay, we sue. Here is where the bean counters and lawyers come in. Now the lawyers always say they can win but it’s the bean counters who may carry more weight.
Sitting alone in their cubicles they look at the cost of litigation, the potential size of the market and the cost to ACQUIRE this small company that is about to sue them. The cheapest option just might be to buy the little guys. Remember what Momma Kliff says this is all about money, who spends it, who saves it and who makes it.
Now we can’t say for certain this will happen, but every arrow is pointing in that direction. Yes Tyler will get here but he might just be tied up in court before he makes his appearance fully known and appreciated.
Lastly on a personal note it’s time to hit everyone up as yep doing another triathlon and this time I’m doing it for a diabetes charity. After raising money for lung cancer, colon cancer, cleft palate and breast cancer (way too much cancer in this world) it’s time after 7 triathlons to do one for the home team, diabetes. So come March 31st in beautiful Hawaii I’ll be doing triathlon number 8 the Lavaman on the Big Island.
This year’s charity is none other than TCOYD. Why them? Well it’s simple as it’s an excellent organization who gives a damn about the PATIENT. So please give and give until it hurts –
https://tcoyd.org/donate1/?fbclid=IwAR0FmXABrlMGEKXDFLr86Bh5BtBtG2iJRGoIXP71Y7y433_bFCU4Zo6FNDw – just as an FYI this link is not specific to me or the race so don’t go thinking you’ll click on it and see my smiling face, just click and donate.