Tag Archives: Lilly Diabetes

I need to write a letter.

A little noise came about earlier in the week when people noticed that the stock price of Eli Lilly & Company, a large producer of insulin, had slipped six percent in a single day due to concerns that complaints of price gouging could ultimately hurt their bottom line. According to the Nasdaq report, the price of Humalog increased 10% just in the past quarter alone.

A lot of people focused on a quote from Lilly’s CEO, John Lechleiter, who, in the company’s quarterly conference call, when asked about the big increase in the price of Humalog, said that while the treatment is costly, the disease itself is a “lot more expensive.” Well, thanks a lot for that. Part of why it is expensive is because of Humalog. I think that’s what he was saying there, right? The disease itself is a “lot more expensive”, so the price of Humalog shouldn’t be a concern then, m’kay?

But it was a similar comment on the call from Jan Lundberg, Ph.D., Executive Vice President of Science and Technology, and President of Lilly Research Laboratories, that made me cringe the most. He was asked by an analyst about the “drug pricing debate”, the upcoming elections in the USA this November, how he had mentioned earlier that the industry was beginning to defend itself regarding pricing, and how he sees it all playing out over the next few years. Here is part of his response:
“In terms of what we can expect after the election, anybody that thinks they can predict the nominations, much less the election right now, I would love to talk to them. But I think this is going to continue to be an issue, or it’s going to continue to be on the radar screen because of demographics. And to some extent, as people get older, they are going to be more and more reliant on our medicines. I think we’ve got to continue to demonstrate that there’s value in the medicines we bring. Yes, they can be expensive, but disease is a lot more expensive. And emphasize the fact that low-cost generics, which account for over four out of five prescriptions today, represent ultimately the legacy of these investment efforts on our part, and provide the American consumer with tremendous value. So I think you can assume the industry is going to continue to maintain an active dialogue with each of the candidates, and to work across party lines to make sure that the views that ultimately translate into policy — and that’s what we’ve really got to be focused on — remain balanced and factual over time.”
Last time I checked, there were still no generic insulins available on the market, nearly 100 years after the discovery and implementation of insulin as a means to keep People With Diabetes alive.

Just trying to remain balanced and factual here, folks.

So, that really bothers me… the clearly false dialogue that it’s okay to overcharge patients for drugs they cannot do without, because there will eventually be generics available, which there won’t. Ever, without a fundamental change in policy at the governmental level. For heaven’s sake, Humalog was approved for use in the USA nearly 20 years ago.

That’s the frustration. What can I do about it?

I don’t know if there’s much I can do about it at all. But I know what will make me feel better. I need to write a letter.

I say a letter because on the Eli Lilly website, there is not one single e-mail address available. But they did publish the address of the home office in Indianapolis.

Do you want to write a letter too? Does this comment bother you enough to voice your concern?

Address it to:
Jan Lundberg
Lilly Corporate Center
Indianapolis, Indiana 46285 USA

Use your words. Tell your story. Be fair. Be kind. Above all, speak from the heart.

I will be putting together my own message, which I’ll share once it’s sent. I don’t know if it will do any good, but I know it will make me feel better. And it can’t hurt.

It should be noted that Eli Lilly & Company provides a lot of insulin to the IDF’s Life for a Child Programme, which also is helped through donations to Spare a Rose, Save a Child. So we’re on the same team there. Lilly helps provide assistance for people having trouble meeting the cost of their medicines. All initiatives that deserve praise.

They also have an executive who made a disingenuous comment on their most recent quarterly conference call, and that should be noted as well.

Our latest #ChampDAthletes medal winner drives really, really fast.


Our latest Champion Athlete With Diabetes medal winner is NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Ryan Reed!

Ryan drives the number 16 Roush Fenway Racing Drive to Stop Diabetes℠ Ford Mustang presented by Lilly Diabetes (how’s that for getting all the sponsors in?). This is his second year on the Nationwide circuit, and his first full year driving every week.

I was able to chat for a few minutes with Ryan over the phone last week as he prepared for his first start at Iowa Speedway (he finished 16th).

First, ‘cause I’m a guy, I asked him about racing stuff: How things were going with Roush Fenway Racing in his first full year. I congratulated him on being ranked 10th on one of the most competitive racing series in the world (he moved down to 12th after Iowa, but that still means there are about 38 drivers behind him in the standings). He mentioned how things were going well, about as well as could be expected, and how it’s great being associated with such a professional organization. He’s just trying to learn all he can so they can continue to improve. What were the goals this year? Just want to continue to do well and make everyone happy. Sounds like my life, only 150 mph faster.

Then we talked a little about diabetes. Diagnosed three years ago at age 17, what was the initial feeling like after diagnosis, and how did it then feel once he got to a point where he knew he could still do anything he wanted to (except make insulin)? Well, the diagnosis was about the toughest time of his life. Since then, it’s been about learning as much as he could so he could confidently go behind the wheel again. He learned a lot at USC’s Clinical Diabetes Program under the direction of Dr. Anne Peters. They’ve also worked with Type 1 Indy Car driver Charlie Kimball. And that, along with the support of family, was just what he needed to get his confidence back. I would also add that getting the support of one of the most successful race teams in the country means others have confidence in him too.

So… what does race day look like for a driver with diabetes? It begins by making sure his Dexcom is working properly. The receiver is mounted to the dash in his race car so he can always see how his BG is trending. He has a special way to stay hydrated while he’s driving, with a dual unit that allows him to either drink water or a high glucose drink, depending on whether he’s trending higher or lower. If necessary, there’s a dedicated member of Ryan’s pit crew that has been trained and is ready to deliver an insulin injection.

I should also mention that Ryan is founder of his own non-profit, called Ryan’s Mission, that works to build awareness of diabetes and support those living with and affected by diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, “The Drive to Stop Diabetes℠ campaign, through Ryan’s Mission 501(c)3, will donate 100 percent of all net-proceeds to the Association.”

Yet another example of inspirational achievements from an athlete living with diabetes. Ryan Reed, we salute you!
So… what about you? How great would it be for you to say you earned the same medal that Ryan Reed received? I encourage you to nominate yourself or the special Athlete With Diabetes in your life today.

Four simple things will mint your medal, and only the first three count:

1. The athlete receiving the award must be living with diabetes.

2. The athletic event must have taken place in the last six months. For now, we’re going with a pretty loose interpretation of the word “event”. If you feel you’ve accomplished something important to you, that’s an event. ‘Nuf said.

3. Send me an e-mail at champswithdiabetes@gmail.com. Tell me your name, name of the athlete (it’s okay if it’s you), and your address (gotta know where to send the medal). Most important, tell me what athletic goal was accomplished, and when. Extra points if you tell me how you felt accomplishing the goal. Full disclosure: I reserve the right to use your testimonial here, on Twitter, and on Facebook. I will not use your name if you don’t want me to. As always, I will never share private information.

4. When you receive your medal, it would be great if you post a photo of it around the athlete’s neck. You can send a Tweet to @ChampsWithD (hashtag: #champdathletes) or post it on the Champion Athletes With Diabetes Facebook Page.

If it’s a big deal to you, it’s definitely a big deal to me too. I want to support you, or support the Athlete With Diabetes in your life. Send an e-mail for your award today.

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