Posts Tagged ‘Diabetes mellitus’

Yesterday I read a really interesting story about diabetes and insulin. The article Miracle on Bloor Street was commemorating the current day because it marked the 90th anniversary for the first day that insulin was used to treat a human with diabetes. On Jan. 11, 1922 a 14 year old boy named Leonard took insulin and after some adjustments to the medication it was successful in a couple of weeks after the 11th.   Prior to this diabetes was a death sentence and was managed by limiting the diet. I mean really, really limiting the diet to about 400 calories a day.  The average life expectancy was 11 months.  An example of this diet is the Allen Starvation Diet.

This story was very uplifting, but something at the end of the article caught my attention.  It said:

Insulin cost $1,400 to discover at the University of Toronto Medical School in 1922 and through the extraordinary efforts of the Eli Lilly and Company, became available to people around the world just two years later. Insulin is today the most widely prescribed drug in medical science.

The reason I bring this topic up is that pharmaceutical companies claim that drugs are expensive because they have to make up for the research costs. If the creation of insulin cost only $1,400 in research funds, then why in the hell is my son’s insulin $135 a bottle?

The same is true about blood glucose testing strips. I believe my son’s strips cost about $35 for 50, which last about a week. The price for 50 strips can range from $20 to $75.  Meanwhile the whole world is panicking because diabetes is and epidemic. An epidemic means increased sales of the strips.  The testing strips have been in use since the 1970s. Do you think the pharmaceutical companies have pad off their research costs by now?

This topic got me to thinking. What about over the counter drugs? Tylenol and Advil cost about $5 to $10, depending on the kind. These two drugs are probably the most used drugs in the world. If there is such huge demand the cost should be minimal.

Now I do understand that some drugs have to be more costly, especially if the population using them is small, or at least smaller, but this isn’t true for diabetes  I think at one point my son was taking a epilepsy medication which was over $500 for a month supply.  I also realize that there are production costs, and new types of insulin are being created.  Even still the insulin costs don’t seem to be right, and I smell a rat somewhere. Oh no! That’s not a rat. That’s greed! Greed at whose cost?  Maybe I am missing something hear.  I truly appreciate the research that is being done to improve conditions for a person with diabetes, but I thought all of commerce was driven by supply and demand.

This whole situation is about as ridiculous as how gas prices fluctuate. If there is some crisis in some oil producing country, the price for barrels of oil go up. In fact they go up for all oil companies. Then in synchronized management the very next day the gas prices go up at every single gas station. The gas that is being sold on that day is not from the oil with the increased price. Also, practically every year right before winter there is always a news story that due to shortages the cost for heating is going to go up.  Also, watch the prices of gas preceding a holiday. Hm-mm, what this comes down to s GREED!

I am really sick of getting screwed over by big corporations. Do they really think we are that stupid. No, these big corporations count on the fact that Americans are very complacent, caught up in their own daily lives. The whole world could be falling apart (which seems to be happening more and more these day4) and I wonder how long it would take America to wake up, take notice, and more importantly actually take action.

I apologize for this tirade, but I had to get this off my chest, and perhaps wake up more people about the greed of these corporations.  I say fight the greed.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) is in partnership with Animas and are developing an artificial pancreas, which is fully automated system to dispense insulin to people with diabetes based on real-time changes in blood sugar levels.  It would be the most revolutionary advancements in treating type 1 diabetes.  

“If successful, the development of this first-generation system would begin the process of automating how people with diabetes manage their blood sugar,” said JDRF President and CEO Alan Lewis.

This system could drastically improve the quality of life for the three million people in the U.S. with type 1 diabetes.  It would free kids and adults from testing, calculating, and treating themselves throughout the day and night.

The continuous glucose monitor would be partially automated by using an insulin pump which would be wirelessly connected to the monitor.  The monitor would test glucose levels through a sensor.  The sensor would send the results of the test to the insulin pump, which would then administer insulin to the individual.  With a system such as this it would help prevent hypoglycemia and extreme hyperglycemia, both of which are very scary circumstances for an individual with diabetes.

JDRF is designating $8 million in funding for this project.  Their goal is to have the first generation version of this within four years. 

The possibility of eliminating the high or low blood sugar problems that send people with diabetes to the hospital could make living with diabetes less difficult.  By having better control of the glucose levels would lower the key risk for developing the associated long-term complications of diabetes, including eye disease, kidney disease, nerve disease, or cardiovascular disease.

My son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in August.  He has been hearing about the possibility of an artificial pancreas and has declared he wants one right away.  Even though he was just diagnosed with diabetes, he is frustrated with how this disease has completely changed his life and it has not been a positive change.  He hates it always being present and needing to be attended to at all times.  He hates testing his blood glucose.  He hates taking the shots of insulin.  Hopefully he will have the opportunity to have his wish come true. 

November is Diabetes Awareness Month.  Please help JDRF to develop the artificial pancreas.  Just by giving a donation, you are giving my son his life back.