Delaying a T1D Diagnosis? The FDA Considers Teplizumab
The very first treatment to prevent type 1 diabetes for any length of time is in front of the FDA right now. Teplizumab has been show to prevent the onset of type 1 diabetes in people shown to be at high risk of developing it. Stacey talks to Dr. Henry Anhalt of Provention, the company behind the filing. Dr. Anhalt is a pediatric endocrinologist and has a lot to say about what this would mean to his patients.
Listen to our previous episodes on Teplizumab
In Innovations, a round table on insulin pricing with Congresswoman Katie Porter. It didn't have her famous white board, but participants pulled no punches.
This podcast is not intended as medical advice. If you have those kinds of questions, please contact your health care provider.
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Stacey Simms 0:00
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This is Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms.
Stacey Simms 0:27
This week, the first treatment to prevent type 1 diabetes for any length of time is in front of the FDA right now. We're going to talk about the clinical stuff. But there's a lot of emotion wrapped up in this development as well.
Dr. Henry Anhalt 0:40
I was trained to make people who have type 1 diabetes feel that they're never doing a good enough job, that they're at risk of developing all these complications. And you know, when you get to the point in your career, you realize that not only did that not help hurt, and then really being in a position to hopefully be able to make a fundamental difference and how that goes down. It's really hard to articulate, I have to say,
Stacey Simms 1:05
That's Dr. Henry Anhalt of Provention, the company behind Teplizumab. He's also a pediatric endocrinologist, we'll talk about Teplizumab what is in front of the FDA and why this treatment is so promising.
In innovations. A round table on insulin pricing with Congresswoman Katey Porter didn't have a whiteboard as She's famous for, but pulled no punches. You're gonna want to hear this.
This podcast is not intended as medical advice. If you have those kinds of questions, please contact your health care provider.
Welcome to another week of the show. I am always so glad to have you here. As you know, we aim to educate and inspire about diabetes with a focus on people who use insulin. I'm your host, Stacey Simms, my son, Benny was diagnosed with type one right before he turned two, back in 2006. My husband lives with type two diabetes, I don't have diabetes, but I have a background in broadcasting. And that is how you get the podcast.
We are coming up on year six of the show. And I gotta tell you, I don't get I don't get too excited about breakthroughs or treatments anymore, because we've covered a lot of stuff that frankly hasn't panned out the way we had all hoped. But this is a little bit different. Because Teplizumab is a drug that has already been shown to prevent type 1 diabetes for three years. And for some people, they are coming up on four years. What does that mean? How do we know it's preventing it? Why is it so exciting? And you know, could this mean a breakthrough for everyone with type one, there's a lot to unpack here. So we'll get to that in just a little bit. But we've talked about Teplizaumab before with the folks from trial net, I'll link up this previous episodes at Diabetes connections.com. There's always an episode homepage for each and every episode, which more recently will have the transcription. But for every episode has important links and more information for you.
quick heads up. If you are listening as this episode goes live tonight, Tuesday, I will be with a JDRF with a couple of chapters. Or maybe it's just one chapter now things have moved around a lot for JDRF. But I'll be with the Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico chapters tonight, talking about the world's worst diabetes mom, we're going to have a fun discussion about the book. And if you are in one of those chapters, you're going to get the paperback for free. If you're not in one of those chapters come along. Anyway, I've got some audio books to give away. It's always just fun to talk to you. I'll be reading from the book but having a discussion as well type one talk, it's different times because of the different states and because of where I am. So it's 530 in Nevada and Arizona, and 630 in New Mexico, it will be 830 here in Charlotte, North Carolina, I may be in my pajamas, but I hope you can join me for that. And again, I'll put a link and I've got that out on my social. I've been talking about that on social media for a couple of days.
I've mentioned a couple of times this year that we're focusing on technology. And a lot of that is because 2021 is going to see a lot of FDA approvals, things have been backed up because of COVID. Um, so this year, and next year, I think we're going to see many things kind of bunched up. But some of that technology isn't mechanical, right? It's medical or what we would think of more as biological perhaps. And that's what we're talking about today.
But first Diabetes Connections is brought to you by Dario health. And over the years. I find we manage diabetes better when we're thinking less about all the stuff of diabetes tasks. That's what I love partnering with people who take the load off on things like ordering supplies, so I can really just focus on Benny, the Dario diabetes success plan is all about you all the strips and lancets you need delivered to your door one on one coaching so you can meet your milestones, weekly insights into your trends, with suggestions on how to succeed. Get the diabetes management plan that works with you and for you. Darrius published study Demonstrate high impact clinical results, find out more go to my dario.com forward slash diabetes dash connections.
My guest this week is the executive director of medical affairs for Provention Bio. He's also a pediatric endocrinologist and Dr. Henry Anhalt is also very involved with Camp Nejeda. He's on the board there. I believe he was the medical director at one point, but we have spoken to Dr. Anhalt before in that capacity. My cousin goes to camp there he did growing up, I will link back on our episode about camp with Dr. Anhalt because it's a really good one. And especially if you're thinking about diabetes camp, if your local campus happening this summer in person, that's a good one to listen to as well. Provention is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to autoimmune disease. And they are applying for what's called a biologics license application for to please him up for the delay or prevention of type 1 diabetes in at risk individuals that is in front of the FDA right now. There is a gold date here that the FDA has assigned to them of July 2. So we shall see what happens between now and then. But there's an awful lot to talk about unexplained. Here's my discussion with Dr. Henry Anhalt.Thank you so much for joining me and welcome back to Diabetes Connections, it's good to talk to you again.
Dr. Henry Anhalt 6:21
Likewise, Stacey, it's a delight to be back with you again.
Stacey Simms 6:25
Well, I'm so interested in this news, which you know, it's hard to get excited after all this time for me. But this is exciting news. But let's kind of set the stage. If I could talk to me a little bit to just start off here. My listeners are familiar with T one detect the program that JDRF came on the show and talked about in in late December about a new screening initiative and prevention is the company that is I guess, you know, doing the heavy lifting here and doing the work to screen people. Can you talk a little bit about the importance of this project?
Dr. Henry Anhalt 7:00
Well, Stacy, the first thing I wanted to do is to point out that in addition to the T one detect program, we have the type one tested.com website, which will also give people who are going to that website, additional information about screening, it's important that we take a shift in how it is that we look at type 1 diabetes. And as we all know, mostly everyone's experience. And certainly, that's been the case with my patients as a pediatric endocrinologist, they present and they come to attention when they've been having symptoms, when they're not feeling well, when they are noticed to be losing weight. And a parent says, gee, something's wrong, and they go to a doctor and oftentimes are going from one doctor to another until unfortunately, kids and adults are getting sicker and sicker and then ultimately end up in an ICU setting. That's what we used to think about as type 1 diabetes. But we now know that type 1 diabetes is really in three stages, we know it's an autoimmune disease. But the three stages are really important to highlight, because the first stage is when someone has two antibodies that are directed at the pancreas. And those two antibodies are amongst a number of antibodies. But if you have two or more, you have stage one diabetes, even in the absence of having any symptoms or abnormal blood sugars. And we'll come back to that in just a second. Stage Two is when you have those antibodies or more, and you'll have some abnormal blood sugars, but not high enough to either have symptoms, or for anybody to even recognize. And then stage three is, as I mentioned a moment ago, when typically people have symptoms and they end up sick unfortunately, and seeking medical attention. We won't know whether or not someone is in stage one, stage two or stage three, unless they do things like you just suggested and participate in the T one detect program or have their antibodies tested so that they can identify and understand where they are along that continuum. And so we now classify type 1 diabetes as soon as you have two more antibodies, but even in the absence of having abnormal blood sugar, so it's important because as therapies become more and more available, and we know that there are a whole bunch that are now coming along, some of them are pending approval. So for example, Teplizumab which is before the FDA right now. And we hope that the FDA will look at the body of evidence and the safety and the efficacy. And we currently are targeted to have an approval date in the first week of July. But it's also important to realize that there are lots of other medications that are soon to follow, that may also be of use to people who are along this continuum. for us and for the people that we care about. In the type one community, the ability for a drug like Teplizumab provided that the FDA looks at the data and says, yep, we believe it's safe and effective to prevent people from progressing from stage two to stage three. Without that, we won't know who would be a good candidate for that kind of intervention.
Stacey Simms 10:58
I always get a little confused. And I know that for somebody like me, who's a lay person, it seems like we're early on in the research. But the question I always have about the antibodies is I remember years ago with trial net, and they would say things to us like, well, years ago for me when I was learning about trial that they would explain it like, well, kids usually get tested more often than adults, because things can change with children. If somebody has the antibodies, do they always develop the symptoms of type 1 diabetes? Or do we not know that yet,
Dr. Henry Anhalt 11:28
the uptake of testing or the routine screening for people at risk has not been adopted widely. And that's important to highlight. And that's why the JDRF is in the middle of this educational campaign is because the fact is that for all intents and purposes, our colleagues that pediatric endocrinology adult endocrinologist are not thinking about getting antibodies, and certainly in children who you would expect, are at greatest risk. Those who have a first degree relative with type 1 diabetes, a sibling or a parent where we know that their risk of developing type 1 diabetes is 15 fold greater than the general population that it would be more widely adopted. But that's unfortunately not the case. And in adults, are point people don't think so one of the challenges with adults who ultimately develop type 1 diabetes is that the family practice dogs or the endocrinologists who may be are not involved, likely not to be involved, because they are in seeing people who are adults who develop diabetes until their 50s, or maybe their 40s. And they're not thinking about type 1 diabetes, the greater challenge with adults is around the assumption that if you're in your third decade or fourth decade of life, that you do not have type 1 diabetes, but we know that that's not the case, because people into their 50s and 60s are developing type 1 diabetes and are continuing to make insulin but unquestionably have type 1 diabetes.
Stacey Simms 13:21
I'm curious, when T one detect was announced, a lot of people in the diabetes community thought and I agree with them. It was so interesting, it was such a great idea. Like let's get more screening, let's get more screening. But when I talked to JDRF, they said no, we will we want everybody in the diabetes community. But we want people outside the diabetes community to start thinking about this, what can be done to try to push this message into families that you know, don't think that they have to worry about diabetes? How are you all doing that?
Dr. Henry Anhalt 13:49
Yeah, what I really focus on Stacey is the folks who are at risk, okay. And those are the ones with first degree relatives, because we know we have data from global programs where they're doing population screening, they're screening everybody, not only second and third degree relatives of people who have type one, or even first degree relatives, they're screening entire populations. And that's terrific within the context, at least right now, of research programs that are well funded. But we're facing a battle ahead of us as we get people to adopt. And we get the payers and the payer community to recognize the importance, which is part of the educational effort. However, we really need to focus right now for the hearing now, because that's achievable, attainable, and the therapeutic agents that are either before the agency now or that are coming are the ones that are going to be the most likely to benefit. And that's why I think right now at risk is the most important population to look at. Got it.
Stacey Simms 14:57
Let's talk about what's in front of the FDA. I remember A couple of years ago trying to pronounce Teplizumab, and then getting really I know, but getting really excited as it seemed to, and you please fill us in, but it looked like the research was showing this is preventing that movement, as you said, from stage two to stage three, so people have the antibodies that show that they have type 1 diabetes, but it kept them from progressing to showing symptoms for two years. And then it looked like three years recently, am I getting all that right?
Right back to the doctor and hold in just a moment. But first Diabetes Connections is brought to you by Gvoke Hypopen, and almost everyone who takes insulin has experienced a low blood sugar that can be scary. A very low blood sugar is really scary. And that's where Gvoke Hypopen comes in. It's the first auto injector to treat very low blood sugar. Gvoke hypo pain is pre mixed and ready to go with no visible needle. That means it's easy to use in usability studies, 99% of people were able to give Gvoke correctly, I'm so glad to have something different, find out more go to Diabetes connections.com and click on the Gvoke logo. Gvoke shouldn't be used in patients with pheochromocytoma or insulinoma visit gvoke glucagon.com slash risk.
Now back to Dr. Anhalt. And I just asked him if I was kind of getting your right that Teplizumab had delayed the onset of type one in people for up to three years.
Dr. Henry Anhalt 16:29
You're getting that spot on Stacey. And I think that here, it's important to stress that how do we know that they're actually having this delay? Are there any markers that we can look at. And C peptide is the key, because for the listeners, it's important to highlight that this molecule or this protein c peptide is a measure of how much function your beta cells have, how much of your actual insulin is being produced. And the studies have shown and the authors concluded that in fact, those treated with Teplizumab had stabilization of their c peptide production, and in some cases actually improved c peptide confirming that the beta cell function is being preserved. And suggesting I may add that beta cell function is being restored. So it wasn't only this delay, but it was a delay that was marked by a direct measurable compound or protein that indicates beta cell health and beta cell function.
Stacey Simms 17:40
When we talk about Teplizumab, what is that? It's I assume it's more than, you know, a pill that you would take once and never have to do again. Is it a treatment? What how do you how do people take it?
Dr. Henry Anhalt 17:50
So Teplizumab and I had a really hard time pronouncing that I started working at Provention Bio in December. And I'm finally getting around to it right. And it wasn't only narrow, actually that I heard about Teplizumab when I was working back in 2008, at a hospital in New Jersey, there were these clinical trials ongoing with tech lism ab. And at the time, I became really familiar and saw what the potential that this drug had. But to answer your question directly Teplizumab is administered by IV infusion over a period, at least in the trials over a period of 14 days as one single infusion. So that's the way that the trial that we're talking about the data that we're discussing, that trial had a 14 day single infusion, so IV infusion every day for 14 days straight. That was the data that we talked about was the outcome of that trial. Ultimately, though, the FDA will make the decision of based on the data that exists, how many days of infusion, etc. Got it.
Stacey Simms 19:14
But to be clear, when we're saying it's three years later, those people that they're measuring three years later had, it's still from those first and only two weeks.
Dr. Henry Anhalt 19:23
That is correct. So people had a two week infusion, and this population was followed out. For quite some time, actually, the recruitment took seven years, but this population has continued and when you have this rolling admission into a trial, it becomes a little bit difficult to to characterize, but suffice it to say based on the appropriate data analysis, that's the conclusion that the authors came to and obviously incredibly encouraged by those results. So with the follow up time, We have nearly a year later, it shows now approximately three years,
Stacey Simms 20:05
I may be jumping to conclusions and correct me if I'm wrong. But I'm sitting here thinking, if my son Benny had gotten something like this at 23 months, and we could have delayed the onset of type 1 diabetes, until he almost went to kindergarten like that, to me, I know that there's more implications down the road, but just the idea that he would be able to communicate a little bit better. With me, maybe he could pronounce diabetes, there would be some other things that we could have some really difficult stages that we could have skipped. And I know that you're looking for a lot more than that going forward. But man, that's so remarkable to think about. And I know everybody listening is thinking in their own families, the milestones that can come in three years, it's really interesting stuff.
Dr. Henry Anhalt 20:49
Stacey, I have to pause when I listen to you tell that story. Because for me, I have only a glimpse of the burden that people living with type one, or parents or caregivers experience, I have a glimpse, because I have the privilege of stepping into the sanctity of a family and being open to hearing these things. But to your point, what is that? What does that mean to a child or to a family that you can have a delay of two years or three years? Or even longer than that? What does that mean? So this ability to do that the data indicating that this can do that can do exactly what you're talking about? It can delay to a time where kids can be more able to communicate signs of hypoglycemia, a kid in college, perhaps, delay until after college, and so on and so forth. So how do you put a measure on what that means for a family? You know, what that means? Two years or three years being insulin independent? How can you describe that to someone who doesn't quote unquote, get it? What that means to a family? So I know, just like you would, from personal experience, what I've heard from my patients and their families, how much that could potentially have meant, and how much that can mean to them going forward?
Stacey Simms 22:31
It really is. It's, I was gonna say, it's fun to think about, I'm not sure that's the right way to say it. Because in my mind, it's kind of fun, because I think about how silly my son was at that age, but it is really encouraging to think about, I'm curious, are there any concerns, side effects, anything that people need to be aware of when it comes to the prism app?
Dr. Henry Anhalt 22:54
So you know, I think that every drug has potential risk and benefit. And we have to be fair and recognize that, however, in the data that's been published, from the trial that we've been discussing the tn 10 study, it was shown that the side effects were manageable, that they were easy to address resolved on their own. And that's consistent with all the other studies that have used Teplizumab. So from our perspective, and looking at the data, we feel that it's appropriate to say, yes, there is always a risk, that the side effects that were seen in any of the trials were expected. And were easily manageable
Stacey Simms 23:48
as we wait to see what the FDA will do. Are you still looking for people to be in studies? You know, my audience is always very interested in that. Are there more studies that people can take part in?
Dr. Henry Anhalt 24:05
Yeah, so we currently have a study ongoing, it's a multinational study multi site in the US called protect. And this study, as opposed to the data that we've been talking about that showed you can prevent progression from stage two to stage three. This is a study for people who are newly diagnosed between the ages of eight and 17 within the first six weeks, and I would urge people if they have any questions, or they need any information to reach out and Stacey you and I can talk about what the best way to have that information or those queries directed because when we talk to people about going online and looking at clinical trials.gov it becomes As a very, very difficult website to navigate.
But suffice it to say that this is a trial where kids between the age of eight and 17, newly diagnosed are given an infusion or placebo of Teplizumab. And they are given another dose, about six months or a year later. Again, this is an infusion. However, it's a 12 day infusion, rather than a 14 day infusion. And there are two infusions over the year. And in that study, were measuring c peptide. And as I mentioned earlier in the podcast, c peptide, is a measure of beta cell function. And so the most important measure for us is beyond hemoglobin A1C how are those beta cells working? How is the residual beta cells producing insulin at this point? And how do they produce insulin after the treatment has given as measured by what we call area under the curve of C peptide production? The amount of C peptide over time, responding to drinking a whole lot of sugar, and seeing where it is that the that the C peptide is produced? I think that that's really an important piece.
I also, Stacey, if I may take liberty and talk about Provention Bio for just a moment. Yes, please do. Because it comes back to camp a little bit. And you may wonder, like, what's the connection? When I first started at Provention Bio, we had a town hall. And you know, if 45, 50 people I don't remember. And the CEO, Ashley Palmer was talking about the importance of us understanding the type one community and I was like, okay, you know, that's words, know, sounds good. And I said, Okay, is a company dedicated to type one? Okay, that sounds good. And so I chatted the group, and I said, you know, I'm on the board of Camp Nejeda, most of us live in the tri state area, I'd be more than happy to host you and to have you guys pink benches, and, you know, do all kinds of cleanup the garbage in between sessions. And he said, You know, that's not here. That's part of your job. And I said to myself, I've worked in other companies that have been in the diabetes space, I have never heard a CEO get up and say, this is your job. It was mind blowing. And I knew then, you know, I was in the right place. Right. So with that sort of as a backdrop, we are really committed to type one. The innovation here is, I think, a landmark in the fact that it will be the first disease modifying if we get the approval, which we hope, the first therapeutic intervention in type 1 diabetes, since the development of insulin, and potentially the only one that is going to be disease modifying. But we're not just there.
And as we spoke about, were in front of the FDA now with the hope that we'll get approval for the at risk population. But we're also in clinical trials to see the ones who are newly diagnosed. So if unfortunately, they've gone on to stage three or symptomatic, or we're also working on a vaccine for coxsackie virus. And so coxsackie has been thought of as a precipitating agent or, or an infection that could potentially provoke or create an immune response that ends up being adversely affecting the pancreas. And the crazy thing is that as a pediatrician, first we would see coxsackie virus all the time. But you know, I have the good fortune of working in a company with a lot of really smart immunologists and I joke and I say, you know, if I would have known immunology was so interesting, maybe I would have paid more attention in medical school. But the fact is, here's another way that we're looking at type 1 diabetes, and the commitment there to innovation is truly remarkable. And I would be remiss if I didn't have the opportunity to state that on this podcast, because I think that speaks to the motivation and it speaks to the genuine commitment to people and their caregivers living with type one.
Stacey Simms 29:53
You mentioned camp, and as we've mentioned a couple of times here you are a pediatric endocrinologist. So you Between the two of those things. You've seen a lot of families over the years, you have probably had a lot of nervous moms and quiet dads in your office with little kids too, grumpy teenagers and independent young adults. I'm curious when you talk about something like to please him on. And you mentioned, as you said, this could be the first therapy, disease therapy it for type 1 diabetes. I know you don't have type 1 diabetes, but boy, are you part of all of those families? Can you speak a little bit about what that means to you?
Dr. Henry Anhalt 30:31
Well, I often joke with people that, you know, I would be more than happy to do anything, including working in my parents’ lingerie store, then taking care of people with type 1 diabetes, not because I hate type 1 diabetes, I do. But it's because I see what happened, what families go through. So for me, what it means to me. If again, if we get approval, I'll feel like I've I finally was able to do something, you know, when you get to the point in your career, when you're working with families who have type one diabetes, and you come to the honest realization that you can't fix it, you no surgeon can go in there and cut it out. But you can't fix it. And the burden really sits with the family, the grumpy teenagers who didn't ask for this. So we're dealing with the intimacy issues, college issues, you name it, the high school kids who are trying to deal with their all the complex issues of psychosocial adjustment to high school and body image, etc. It's unbelievable. So for me as a treating physician, anything, anything. And it's not only templates, a map, but anything that could make them living with diabetes just a bit easier to lift, a little bit of the burden would be incredibly meaningful to me. And that's sort of how I got into this, I was trained to make people who have type 1 diabetes feel that they're never doing a good enough job, that they're at risk of developing all these complications. And you know, when you get to the point in your career, you realize that not only did that not help it hurt, and then really being in a position to hopefully be able to make a fundamental difference and how that goes down. It's really hard to articulate, I have to say,
Stacey Simms 32:31
Did your parents really own a lingerie store?
Dr. Henry Anhalt 32:33
They did. Olga’s corset and specialty shop two Eastern European immigrants who came here penniless trying to build a life for themselves in the golden land.
Stacey Simms 32:45
Isn't that marvelous?
Dr. Henry Anhalt 32:46
That's wonderful. It sure is. It sure is. Yep. Yep. All they wanted us to see their kids, you know, get an education. And of course, you know, me becoming a doctor. I mean, my dad almost ran up to the podium when I got my diploma. He just couldn't contain himself. So yeah, absolutely.
Stacey Simms 33:05
All right. I think we've got everything and more.
Dr. Henry Anhalt 33:08
Yeah, I mean, I would leave you Stacey with, if nothing else, to really, really get the word out for people to screen for dogs to really hear from their families. You know, why don't you screen, I have another kid that to us. And I think to the whole community, now, there's potentially something that can happen. You mentioned trial net, and trial net has done an amazing job in getting tech lism ab to where it is now. And they've done an amazing job at moving the screening field forward. But it's got to get out of the realm of research alone now because now where they're now where potentially at the threshold of a whole bunch of therapies that we hope will get approved and capitalism AB hopefully, if the FDA is happy with the data, and convinced that the drug is safe and effective, which we have great confidence that they will or others coming right behind. So the screening is so critical, Stacey,
Stacey Simms 34:15
thank you so much for joining me, we will link up all of the information and spread the word as best we can. But thanks for explaining everything and come on back, knock on wood. If everything goes through the FDA, come on back and share what's next.
Dr. Henry Anhalt 34:27
I would be delighted to do that.
Unknown Speaker 34:35
You're listening to Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms.
Stacey Simms 34:40
More information on everything we talked about at Diabetes connections.com. You can learn more about teplizumab and provention. It's really fascinating stuff. And you know, it's not as easy as you know, one shot and you're done or one pill a day. I mean, it is as he mentioned, a an in hospital procedure, but imagine two weeks of that And then two, three, maybe four years, maybe more of prevention of type one. I mean, what an incredible beginning. I don't get my hopes up often you know me if you've listened for a very long time I I wouldn't say I'm cynical, but I'm certainly not running after every development. But I feel like we've been watching this one for so long, I'm almost ready to put my rose colored glasses on, we'll see, I'll keep you posted on you know what comes out of this, what the FDA decides, and you know, there's going to be a lot more information down the road.
Up next in innovations. f It is time to get cynical again, I'm going to be talking to you and bring you some audio about a roundtable on insulin pricing. So stay tuned for that. But first Diabetes Connections is brought to you by Dexcom. And you know, when we first started with Dexcom, back in December of 2013, the share and follow apps were not an option. They hadn't come out with the technology yet. So trust me when I say using share and follow apps makes a big difference. I think it's really important to talk to the person you're following or sharing with, get comfortable with how you want everyone to use the system. And even if you're following your young child, these are great conversations to have at what numbers will you text, how long will you wait to call that sort of thing. That way, the whole system gives everyone real peace of mind. I'll tell you what I absolutely love about Dexcom share, and that is helping Benny with any blood glucose issues using the data from the whole day and night and not just one moment. Internet connectivity is required to access separate Dexcom follow app. To learn more, go to Diabetes connections.com and click on the Dexcom logo.
Last week, a new group or at least new to me called investigate insulin now partnered with the American economic liberties project and held a discussion about the impact of insulin pricing. I'm going to read you the description from their website. “Nearly 7 million Americans suffering from diabetes need insulin to live but a cartel of drug companies who control the production of insulin, Eli Lilly Sanofi and Novo Nordisk have made the lifesaving drug criminally expensive by colluding with each other to hike prices in lockstep over and over and over for years.
On March 18, at 12:30pm, the American economic liberties project and the investigate insulin now campaign hosted a discussion focused on the dangerous impacts of the insulin cartel racial inequalities in insulin access, and what Congress and the new Biden administration must do to hold these corporations accountable and address concentration in this critical industry.”
And that is the quote from the website. I'm going to link this up, you can watch the entire discussion. It is less than an hour, but it features Congresswoman Katie Porter, who you may recognize from her whiteboard. Many people just know her from that. But she's part of the oversight Subcommittee on economic and consumer policy. And then the remarks here are from people with the American economic liberties project to an international insulin advocates, the executive director of Social Security works. So there's a lot of people talking here I want to bring you one short clip. This is about a minute long. And this is Matt Dinger. He is a patient, as you'll hear, he is an advocate, and he is a board member at T one International. He has just said that he doesn't know anyone who uses insulin, who hasn't rationed it at one time or another. And he sets up His comments here by saying that at one point he had no insurance for just one month he was switching jobs, and he knew that he would have no insurance for a month. And that resulted in him rationing insulin ahead of time. So he would have a stockpile, and then also rationing after he got the job and had the insurance because he knew his deductible would mean he would be paying $1,000 a month for insulin for the first few months.
Matt Dinger 38:51
I'm lucky to be in the position that I'm in. And even so I'm a job loss away from financial ruin. Because the concentration of economic power when it comes to the price of insulin lies almost entirely in the hands of three companies. I am completely beholden to them. And I'm terrified by that every single day. Corporate concentration and monopolistic behavior by the big three insulin manufacturers allow them to set prices as high as possible, with no fear of losing market share. This includes things like shadow pricing, which is increasing the prices in tandem with one another instead of competing to set the lowest price, pay for delay agreements, lawsuits, taking biosimilar insulins off the market, patent games to extend their product exclusivities long past when they would normally expire.
As someone who has worked in healthcare for the entirety of my professional life. I understand the price of innovation. And let me tell you leveraging anti-competitive practices in order to give your CEO a pay package of $23.7 million isnt innovative. and businesses that would do that while their consumers are dying aren't companies, they’re cartels,
Stacey Simms 40:01
it's pretty powerful stuff. I'll link it up. If you want to watch it, it is less than an hour. The investigate insulin now campaign is a coalition of a bunch of different organizations. And I think we're going to be hearing a lot more from them, because these are some pretty big names that are backing them. And while there's a lot of hope that the new Biden administration will move on some of these, there really has been no indication from Democrats or Republicans, in my opinion on the federal level that we will see strong action taken. So I'll continue to keep you posted on this one as well. I can't imagine the insulin companies are going to take kindly to being called a cartel. I thought that was some very interesting language.
Alright, before I let you go reminder that I will be speaking live to some JDRF folks out west tonight, that's linked up on social media and in this episode, as well. And if you know, if you're listening a couple of days or weeks after this episode airs, I'd love to come to your chapter virtually, or maybe in person down the road. So please reach out we do have an event tab at Diabetes connections.com. And you can always request me to come speak or just you can ping me anywhere, email me directly. I love talking to groups. It's always so much fun. I always learn something as well.
In our classic episode this week, we're going to be talking to a Broadway performer Maddie Trumbull, and she has played lead roles and Wicked and Newsies. And we'll check in with her and see how she has been doing this interview was five years ago now. And of course, the last year has been you know, we've seen Broadway completely shut down. So I checked in with her and I'll let you know what she is up to in our classic episode airing in just a couple of days.
Thank you, as always to my editor John Bukenas from audio editing solutions. thank you as always for listening. I'm Stacey Simms. I'll see you back here soon. Until then. Be kind to yourself.
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