Monday, 24 October 2011

The patient perspective

So a couple of weeks ago I was contacted by someone doing some research into diabetes products who was keen to pick the brains of us opinionated blogger-type folk. As I prepared for my over-the-phone grilling, it got me thinking about how much of a business this diabetes lark really is. Not that I hadn't already picked up on the whole big business vibe, what with CGM in its current form costing anything up to £200 per month to fund for those of us who haven't been able to put forward a successful bid for funding through the 'National Health Service'. Even the humble insulin pump is not yet available to all. In fact, in some places you still can't get an insulin pump if your Consultant or 'specialist' happens to think they are just a fancy gizmo. To find out a little more about insulin pumps and whether you may be eligible for one, check out INPUT's pages.

An equally pancreatically defective friend of mine and fellow blogger over on Shoot Up or Put Up once said that she was happy for diabetes to be big business, because all the time the 'Big Pharma' companies are striving to improve their products or come up with better ones to the last great idea, us diabetics are only set to benefit. In terms of quality of products, anyway. Unfortunately access to them remains a bit of a lottery. Granted, in some areas (such as CGM) it can still be difficult to actually access the products thanks to the hefty price tag, but that is the way the world works in many areas, not just diabetes. In terms of quality the ideas, improvements and developments seem to literally evolve day-by-day.

Unfortunately I can't talk about the topics we covered here for obvious reasons, but it was a great reminder of the development and progress that diabetes research is constantly undergoing. And with that development comes improved products, services and patient experiences. It is always refreshing to be consulted on my perspectives as a diabetic patient and user of (and payer for!) various products which improve the lives of those working hard to manage this condition. To be asked what I think, what I would use, what I wouldn't and where I see the future going, is a good reminder that the patient is at the heart of research more than ever.

At the end of the day it is us, the diabetics and users of these products, that keep these companies in business and urge them to strive for more. When it comes to our health we are demanding - and rightfully so. And if a product comes out which doesn't quite cut it, we will let them know. If a great one comes out, we will use it. This, is the challenge.

Anna - very excited about our future.

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