Obamacare: Looking ahead and not liking what I see

We are barely into the first week of 2017 and The New Unified Republican Government™ has Obamacare in its crosshairs.

We are barely through the first week of 2017 and The New Unified Republican Government™ has Obamacare in its crosshairs.

I’m not going to pretend that the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) is without its problems. The very first problem is the “affordable” part. For some, that hasn’t turn out to be the case. Higher premiums were announced last fall, just before the presidential election. Some health insurance companies have opted out of the exchanges, reducing options for coverage.

But Obmacare has yielded some good results, particularly when it comes to access to healthcare.

Continue reading “Obamacare: Looking ahead and not liking what I see”

When one door closes…

MannKind and Sanofi announced the end of their Afrezza partnership. What happened?

News came last week that MannKind and Sanofi are ending their Afrezza partnership.

Afrezza, in case you don’t know, is a fast-acting insulin that is inhaled. Look ma, no needles! Instead of a needle poke you take several deep breaths. That has a certain appeal among the people getting poked.

There was some fanfare when Afrezza was approved by the FDA, and it even generated some Internet buzz. So what happened?

Sales were disappointing.

Afrezza had become the poster child for the complexities of introducing a new treatment to the market. It was proven effective. It received FDA approval. Doctors and patients were educated about its benefits and limitations; Afrezza can’t be used by people with asthma or lung ailments. But was Afrezza being stocked by pharmacies? And, more importantly, was it added to any of the payer formularies? Meaning, would any health insurance companies pay for it?

Success in pharma requires every step in the process of introducing a new treatment be successful. Afrezza was oh so close.

Meanwhile, every person using insulin continues to to poke themselves…daily…several times.


Update: On January 21, 2016 MannKind announced it has entered into a collaboration and license agreement with a newly formed entity, Receptor Life Sciences, Inc.

When a Person with Diabetes Shouts in the Forest…

I spent time in the office. I played Ingress and walked 8KM in the process. My BG ran a little high and I didn’t obsess about it. I attended the DiabetesMine Innovation Summit and caused a ruckus.

…does anybody hear?

Heading home after a week in California.

I spent time in the office. I played Ingress and walked 8KM in the process. My BG ran a little high and I didn’t obsess about it. I attended the DiabetesMine Innovation Summit and caused a ruckus.

“You know what? I don’t give a s### about your balance sheet.” That’s the moment when everything changed. In the room and in my head. Whether I realized it or not my heart was already there.

It was during the payers (health insurance companies) panel. I stood up and yelled this out to the panel.

The reps, some with a medical background, were talking about how expensive chronic illness is. As if we, people living with diabetes, didn’t know this fact. The payers panel pointed out that the accelerating cost of  healthcare is unsustainable. As if we didn’t realize this every time we look at our personal bank accounts.

“I don’t see anybody up there (on the panel), except for the lady from Arkansas (Health Exchange), talking about patients.” I could feel the blood rushing to my face. I took a deep breath. I tried to calm down.

The tension in the room had been building.

Once again the patient was being scolded by the healthcare establishment. Do you take care of your diabetes? Do you know how expensive pumps are especially if you change them every couple of years? And with ACA the rules are changing and the future is even more uncertain.

The audience sat shifting around in their seats uncomfortably. The all too common questions rattling around it their heads. Aren’t these the companies who are supposed to help us get the care we need? Don’t they understand that we want the latest therapies and medical technology, not because it’s the latest and the greatest, but because it’s our only hope for a healthier life? We want to avoid those expensive complications. Without the illusive cure, access to the most current therapies is our only hope. We are putting our trust in the medical establishment and the healthcare insurance companies.

More than that. We’re putting our very lives in their hands.

I took another deep breath in an attempt to calm down. That was the point @SweetlyVoiced spoke up to tell her story. She let the panel know that even though they say their companies want to “get patients the care they need” that’s not what we patients are experiencing.

It was called the “Patients’ Voice Summit.” Sometimes, to be heard you got to raise your voice — even if it feels uncomfortable for everybody in the room.


DISCLOSURE: The folks at the DiabetesMine invited me to attend the 2013 DiabetesMine Innovation Summit as a winner of the Patient Voices Contest. They paid for my airfare, hotel, and meals while at the summit.