I happen to be one of the lucky few in this country to have type 1 diabetes. I contracted this when I was 6, which actually is a better time than getting when you are older in my opinion. I don't remember life with Coke Classic or dessert with every meal. I know Diet Pepsi and the horrible excuse for cookies a lot of companies come out with that have no sugar.
I have been going to see all kinds of endocrinologists throughout my life, some smarter and with better bedside manner than others. I was actually told, at one point, there would be a cure by the time I went to college. That was in 1999. Next they were going to have a cure before I graduated college. That was in 2003. Also, along the way I went to a trial for the "Dream Beam," which was a machine that could read your blood sugar through your skin rather than sticking your finger 4 to 5 times a day. This took place at Mount Siani hospital in New York City. It ended up being a scam and the people were just in it to take the cash and run. Great background checks. In short, not only have they not gone forward with diabetes research but actually seem to be going backwards. The only progress they have made over the 25 years I have had diabetes is putting the insulin from vials into pens to make measuring the amount of insuline slightly easier to read and I guess making the needle a little smaller. This also got rid of actualy syringes and the less needles out there for drug users to use the better. However, my insurance provider actually made me get special approval for the insulin pens over the vials because they aren't a "necessity." Anything to save a dime I guess. Glad these diabetes charities are bringing in hundreds of millions a year for that. I have given up donating money to diabetes charities and have moved to giving money to MS, but that is just me.
About 2 years ago I contracted MS on top of the diabetes. How lucky can one guy be? In this short amount of time they almost successfully replaced my three shots a week with a pill. MS can be treated with a daily shot, three shots a week or a monthly infusion. Therefore the business of MS isn't very lucrative.
Think about it. I just read online on a national diabetes website that diabetes brought in $281 billion in 2007 between medication and other things related to diabetes care. That's billions with a B. I personally do 4 to 5 finger sticks a day along with 4 to 5 shots. Behind every piece of equipment I use there is a company that manufactures it. If diabetes were to be cured it would be catastrophic for these companies. Why would they not want to give a company $100 million to buy the cure and hide it... Possibly a number of times over, that is less than 1% of the yearly sales.
Here is a breakdown of the costs that are covered by insurance:
2 types of insulin per month - $70 ($35 per perscription, who knows how much it actually comes out to Eli Lilly.)
Finger stick strips - $35
Needle tops for insulin - $35
That comes out to $140 a month just for the copays. If I didn't have insurance I am sure it would cost me well over $2,000/month.
My MS medication comes out to $25 a month, I actually had to pay for that one once because insurance didn't cover it and it cost me $3,500 for one month but that is another story. There is big money in any chronic disease. However, the other treatments are less expensive.
There are 25.8 million cases of diabetes total in the US as of January 2011. That includes type 1 and type 2. I am not en expert on type 2 so I am not as familiar with the medications. About 10% of these are type 1 so a little over 2 million. If they are all paying $140 a month that is about $280 million a month and that is ONLY type 1 diabetes and ONLY in the US and ONLY copays. Doing quick math, if none of us had insurance that would come out to around $4 billion a month from only type 1 patients. There are another 20 million people with type 2 I am not even counting. There are over 6 billion other people in the world. I really don't like thinking about it, kinda makes me sick. These pharmaceutical companies must be rubbing their mitts together whenever they hear obesity is running rampant in this country. After re-reading this the $281 billion a year almost sounds low. According to certain diabetes websites 79 million people in this country have prediabetes so they are right on the cusp, wouldn't be surprised if these pharmaceutical companies are behind those disgusting KFC sandwiches where they replace the bread with 2 more pieces of fried chicken, just what this country needs.
That just leaves me thinking, why would they ever come out with a cure for something that would drive companies out of business. I am not sure if this is just a consequence of living in a capitalistic society or just me being skeptical of just about everyone else. I think it might be a mixture of the two. I have looked online for these kinds of thoughts out there but have pretty much come up blank. So I am not sure if I am just extremely pessimistic or if people haven't really put any thought into it. Makes me angry from time to time though and then I "have to try and not be so angry about everything." I am not sure if it is being angry or just passionate about certain topics and this one hits pretty close to home for me. I think it would just make me feel better for people to tell me I am crazy or that I might have a point.
If this post does nothing else than educate people on what is really going on here than I have done my job. I obviously don't take this lightly but I think I have good reason to be skeptical. I just want to hear people questioning the system more rather than just being sheep and blindly following.
I apologize if I offended anyone with this but it is something I think about almost every time I have to inject insulin into my body, which is often. So that is where I am coming from. This is only my first entry so I am still a little green but expect more, a lot more.
Any and all feedback is more than welcome. I tend to be a little stubborn at times but love open dialogue where I can hear other peoples opinions to try and broaden my knowledge.