Diabetes Self-Management Blog

Did you know that if you “google” the word diabetes, the sponsored link that pops up at the top of the search page is the phrase “Diabetes and Pain”?

The link has something to do with diabetic nerve pain treatment, but it sounds like something Mr. T would say if he were the voice that tells you how easy it is for diabetic testing supplies to be delivered to your doorstep. (Unfortunately that is not Mr. T’s voice, it’s Wilford Brimley’s and that’s another novel. Zing!)

The page also contains a photo of an older couple holding hands while taking an autumn stroll in a park. It seems to encourage exercise and a somewhat healthy lifestyle for people with diabetes. It’s the classic photo that says “You can do this!” similar to how the Hair Club for Men commercials always had guys swimming and riding motorcycles because that’s what guys with fake hair want to do. It’s not long before you realize the page is actually an advertisement for a drug that can help ease the pain of nerve problems related to diabetes.

After looking at this Web page and letting it sink in for a while, I started thinking about how much money must go in to promoting the treatment of diabetes. With so many people affected by the condition and so much money to be made in its treatment, it’s crazy to think about how much money some pharmaceutical companies would lose if a cure were discovered. Right now, I buy the needles and syringes to take a morning injection, the insulin that goes in that syringe, the FlexPen that holds my fast-acting insulin, the needles that go with the FlexPen, the meter to check my blood glucose, the strips that go in the meter, the lancet needles that replace the ones that go with the finger-pricker that comes with that meter, the syringe of glucagon in case there’s an emergency, the glucose tablets to carry around…and that’s just me. I won’t even get into all of the pills, pumps, and inhalers that are on the market now or are coming soon.

I think Andy Rooney should do a 60 Minutes segment on all of the gizmos and gadgets that go into the treatment of diabetes. There’s so much money to be made on all of these products—how much do they really cost to produce? What is the markup on all of them? If anyone knows about research that has been done on this topic, please let me know. I bet the findings would be astonishing.

I don’t want to be too pessimistic here, and I realize that the majority of people with diabetes are Type 2. But when I think about the search for a cure for diabetes, I guess I just find it hard to believe that an industry so driven by the sell would ever really wholeheartedly go after something that made the sell obsolete. What do you think?

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Comments
  1. Never thought about the pharmaceutical people dragging their feet on finding a cure because they make so much money on their products to treat it. Sad to think that profits come before the desire to eliminate this ugly disease.
    I hope you’re wrong. But I suspect you’re not.

    Posted by Bob Westenberg |
  2. I’ve actaully thought about this. The cost can be mind boggling. I really don’t know how people with no form of insurance can afford the disease. A thought for a future blog might be that Diabetes is the perfect disease for the obsessive compulsive personality. There is so much paraphernalia and ritual involved. Not to mention the need to keep the diet in check and always making time for exercise. And everyone of my prescriptions need to be renewed on different dates (I have quarterly refills). It is not a disease for the disorganized.

    Posted by LP |
  3. I was diagnosed with Diabetes Type 1 when I was only 2 years old. I’ve alwasy seen thet Type 2 has had much advance in medications to control the condition, but I only see that the Pharmaceuticals make newer insulins and each time they are more expensive. I strongly believe that there is a lack of interest to make a cure for Type 1 because it would dimish their earnings. Sorry to be so outspoken with this, but who really cares to help Type 1 to stop insulin injections daily - many times a day?
    Thanks for this opportunity. I love Diabetes Self Management Magazine I read it completely.

    Posted by Longtimediab |
  4. I AGREE!! MY HUSBAND AND I ARE BOTH DIABETICS. IT IS UNREAL WHAT THE COST IS!! THE DRUG COMPANIES ARE AFTER US FOR BIT OF THE MONEY! I DO NOT THINK THEY WANT A CURE, JUST LIKE A PILL TO STOP OBESITY! THIS IS THEIR INCOME! IT IS TO BAD THAT THEY ARE SO MONEY HUNGRY, PEOPLE ARE DYING OF THIS, GOING BLIND AND SO ON!I HOPE SOMEWHERE IN THEIR HEARTS THEY WILL REALIZIE A CURE IS NECESARY, MAYBE WHEN THEY,OR A CLOSE RELATIVE GETS IT!! WE CAN ONLY PRAY THAT WILL HAPPEN!!

    Posted by DOGMAMA |
  5. I couldn’t agree more with this article and have been saying it for years! I too am insulin dependent - no way will there be a cure for diabetes - way too many people and companies would be out of work!!

    Posted by Geo |
  6. I also wonder how much money that is given is really used in research for a cure and How much is wasted in stupid ideas or people spending money on things that really do not work but they want so bad to be cured or relieve pain.

    It is so sad when this happens

    Posted by dbuitt |
  7. I have been a practicing Type 1 for 39 years. I am ready for a cure and I do believe that a cure will be found soon. I don’t expect a Pharmaceutical or Biotechnology Company to come up with a cure but it will come from one of the many University Medical School Research Laboratories that are doing diabetes research and looking for a way to cure diabetes. You have to separate the type of research that is done in the Pharmaceutical Companies,(Product Development reseach) from the research that is done in Academic Institutions (research to find cures for diseases). I expect a cure to come from one of the Institutions in Boston and I urge people to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Joslin Diabetes Center, and the American Diabetes Association who fund the research to find a cure.

    Posted by Florian (Type 1, dx 1967) |
  8. I personally have type one diabetes, I pray everynight that they find a cure so that someday I might be able to have children and not worry that they will have to spend thier time learning about thier illness and trying as hard as I have to get it under control. I know that the drug companies stand to lose a lot of money should they find a cure, it shouldn’t be up to them to prevent any kind of research that could bring on a cure for diabetes. I don’t want the children of the future to face the difficulties that I and other friends with diabetes have faced. I know that the drug companies make a lot off AIDS medicaitions so does that mean they are goign to prevent a cure for that? It should be no different in facing research on the cure for diabetes. I am only 22 years old, and my diabetes is really bad, I want a cure, I just want to be normal.

    Posted by Laura Smalley |
  9. I AGREE. I AM A 15 YR TYPE 2 DIABETIC. DRUG COMPANIES WOULD LOSE TOO MUCH MONEY. SAME THING WITH CANCER OR AIDS.
    POWER AND GREED HAS TAKEN OVER OUR COUNTRY. JUST LOOK AT OUR GOVT.LEADERS.
    THESE PARTIES CAN’T AGREE ON ANYTHING.
    THANK YOU FOR LETTING ME BLOW OFF A LITTLE STEAM.

    Posted by sassy |
  10. For whatever it’s worth:

    I’ve got a different take on this — I don’t think the pharma & meter companies (or anyone else for that matter) are hiding a cure. See my discussion at
    http://diabetes.blog.com/1110711/

    Bill
    William W. Quick, MD, FACP, FACE

    Diabetes Monitor
    http://www.diabetesmonitor.com
    Monitoring diabetes happenings everywhere in cyberspace, and providing information, education and support for people with diabetes.

    Diabetes.Blog.com
    http://www.diabetes.blog.com
    a blogcompanion to the Diabetes Monitor

    Posted by Bill Quick |
  11. I disagree. Well, after certain point anyway.

    Yes I can see the pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. dragging their feet so as not to lose their customer base.

    BUT… the U.S. is not the only country with diabetics. The countries who provide the care for all their citizens (aka as socialized medicine) would love to not have the expense of continual treatment of this disease and its complications. THOSE people are doing some serious research and WILL NOT keep a lid on a cure.

    Posted by Ephrenia |
  12. Judging from the cost of the meds and testing supplies, I would guess any corporation would be unwilling to find a cure. I think they would be very willing to find medications that keep diabetics alive a bit longer so they could have more of our money. The idea of an investigative report on the subjectis a good one. How about Dateline or 20/20?

    Posted by GRANNY4ANGEL |
  13. I found this bit of information from a study done in 2002 from this web site http://care.diabetesjournals.org/cgi/content/full/26/3/917 - “Per capita medical expenditures totaled $13,243 for people with diabetes and $2,560 for people without diabetes. When adjusting for differences in age, sex, and race/ethnicity between the population with and without diabetes, people with diabetes had medical expenditures that were ~2.4 times higher than expenditures that would be incurred by the same group in the absence of diabetes.”

    Posted by Coco |
  14. I agree with Andy. My friends and I believe that if a cure was found that it would be available only to those who have the money to buy the cure. We think that information would be withheld from the “normal” public if a cure was found. Diabetes is a money maker for the doctors, chemists, hospitals, drug stores, food companies, nutritionists, “non-profit” organizations, insurance companies, jut to name a few.

    Posted by Renee |
  15. I don’t believe the conspiracy theories at all. When insulin was discovered it was not supressed. Sure, big pharmacy makes alot on diabetes but they risk a lot also.
    If someone ever finds a “cure” it would make them rich without the risk.

    Posted by Burbot |
  16. Did anyone stop to think that the human immune system is just to complex to solve the autoimmune problem?

    Posted by Ron |

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