In honor of American Diabetes Month, I had the opportunity to share my thoughts on diabetes research with readers of PhRMA’s Catalyst blog. In the post below, I was able to discuss the history of the field, the incredible progress that has been made, and our collaborative approach to providing the best possible patient solutions.
This year, we are celebrating the commercialization of one of the first miracles of modern medicine: the use of insulin to treat diabetes. It was in 1922 – 90 years ago – that the first insulin injections were given, transforming one of the great killers of children into a chronic disease. In the decades that have passed we have learned much more about insulin, and continued innovations have made treatment better, smarter and more convenient for millions of patients. At Sanofi, we are proud to be a part of that enduring revolution in patient care.
As we acknowledge all of the progress made in diabetes, it is critically important to remember that preventing and treating this disease remains an enormous challenge for individuals. For people living with diabetes there are the myriad of factors that must be balanced on a daily basis, such as diet and exercise, therapy compliance, ongoing diagnostics and the human relationships that tie everything together.
Across these efforts one observation stands clear: the challenges facing people with diabetes are far too complex for any one stakeholder to solve. Success demands new ways of working together – by patients, families and caregivers, health care professionals, patient advocates, our industry and the government. Being patient-centric means collaborating across the health care system with a primary focus on what is best for patients. Our responsibility does not end when a medication is delivered.
This responsibility has prompted Sanofi to work in an entirely new way and changed how we listen, learn and collaborate to develop health solutions. We’ve created Partners in Patient Health, an ongoing dialogue and collaboration with patients and advocates across the spectrum of health, disease and innovation. Here’s a snapshot of how that’s rolling out:
- We have launched the Data Design Diabetes Challenge and the Collaborate Activate Challenge, two competitions that award hundreds of thousands of dollars to programmers and advocates who are developing new tools and strategies for improved health.
- We are going to where the diabetes dialogue is taking place and using crowdsourcing to gain patient insights, engaging with patients and customers in the diabetes online community.
- We hosted a Diabetes Advocacy Summit to facilitate a dialogue between like-minded advocates who are working with a common goal and are eager to share best practices and collaborate.
We’re beyond the point where “raising awareness” is enough. Patient-centricity means that we have to pool resources and work together to make real change happen. We’re ready to partner with individual patients, with advocates, with programmers, with any person or organization or company that can strike a real blow against diabetes. We have been and will continue to act as an integrator to bring these groups together – to improve communication in support of patients, and to help identify patient solutions.
We’ve made tremendous progress in the 90 years since Frederick Banting transformed diabetes, but that acknowledgement comes with the stark reminder that there is still so much that must – and will – be accomplished for people living with diabetes.