In the News.. this week: Lilly drops the price of some insulins, this T1D group most likely to be hospitalized if infected with COVID, insulin pumps reduce risk of retinopathy, Novo Nordisk pays investors to settle earnings claims, another through-the-skin glucose monitor and more!
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Episode transcription below
Hello and welcome to Diabetes Connections In the News! I’m Stacey Simms and these are the top diabetes stories and headlines of the past seven days. As always, I’m going to link up my sources in the Facebook comments – where we are live – and in the show notes at d-c dot com when this airs as a podcast.. so you can read more if you want, on your own schedule.
In the News is brought to you by Real Good Foods! Find their Entrée Bowls and all of their great products in your local grocery store, Target or Costco.
Our top story – Lilly announces a big price change on some insulins. Starting this January, the cash price of Insulin Lispro goes down 40%. Lispro is identical to Humalog – the price on that one isn’t changing. Lilly says one in three prescriptions for their mealtime insulin is for Insulin Lispro.
I asked Lilly why now and what about Humalog? I’ll put my Q&A in the show notes – you’ll be able to read them at diabetes dash connections dot com and in the Facebook group.. their answers were vague – although one interesting point.. they claim these programs have lowered the monthly out of pocket cost of a prescription for Lilly insulin to 28 dollars.. a decrease of 27% over the past four years.
The bottom line here is that you still have to do the work… your pharmacist can substitute lispro for humalog – or the other way around – however the prescription is written.. make sure you ask them to check which is cheaper either with your insurance, with a coupon or with the cash price. It’s a lot of work, but with all of these options, you want to figure out what’s best for you.
Adults over 40 with type 1 are 4 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID 19 than younger people. New study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. This study looked at thousands of people with type 1 from April 2020 to March of 2021 – so it’s worth noting that the recent Delta wave isn’t included here. Hospitalized here means inpatient or ICU not emergency room. This is where it gets really interesting – they adjusted for sex, A1C, race and ethnicity, insurance type and comorbidities – it was being over 40 that still increased the odds. That’s not to say A1C didn’t matter.. The likelihood for hospitalization was higher for all ages with a higher A1C. Also interesting.. there was no significant difference for adverse outcomes between the age groups. They grouped together DKA, severe hypoglycemia and death as the adverse outcomes here..
Using an insulin pump may decrease the risk of diabetic retinopathy in younger people with type 1. These researchers looked at almost 2000 patients under the age of 21 and found - after adjusting for race and ethnicity, insurance status, diabetes duration, and A1C - patients with pumps had a 57% decreased risk for retinopathy. The thinking here is that it’s about less variability in blood glucose. However, there were disparities in access to pumps, with pump users more likely to be white and have private or commercial insurance.
Very early on but potentially big news out of China… this is the DREAM study a phase three clinical trial of a medication called dorzagliatin (DOOR-zuh-GLY-uh-tin)– this is for people with type 2. While it was a small study it has big results.. after a year, 65% of the 69 patients were in remission – that generally means A1Cs under 6.5 with no glucose lowering medication – although the exact definition of remission was not given here. These findings were presented at a recent BioMed Conference in China.
Novo Nordisk shareholders say pants on fire to the insulin maker and get a $100 million dollar settlement. What happened here? Novo allegedly told investors not to worry about insulin pricing pressures from lawmakers and patient groups - that they’d still make plenty of money. But the investors disagreed – saying other insulin makers were warning their investors that profits could fall.
This lawsuit has nothing to do with any benefit to patients – it was all about investors who were actually asking for 1.7 billion dollars. Novo agreed to the smaller deal saying they just wanted to avoid the burden of litigation, no admission of wrong doing.
This is from last week but want to make sure you’ve seen a voluntary glucagon recall. Lilly is recalling a specific lot from their red box emergency kit. It’s lot D239382D so please check. The problem here is that someone reported the vial of glucagon was in liquid form instead of powder – which can mean the glucagon isn’t going to work well in an emergency. If you got this lot – bring it back to the pharmacy or call Lilly. Info in the link and show notes.
You might have seen the headline on this one: if you can’t fit into the jeans you wore at age 21 you’re at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
I dug a little deeper on this.. very small study. First. These people weren’t even overweight. They did have type 2 and as part of the study managed to lose fat and the researchers said their diabetes was put into remission. They all followed a weight loss program of a low calorie liquid diet for two weeks – 800 calories a day! They did this three times until they lost 10 to 15 percent of their body fat.
The researchers say this “demonstrate very clearly that diabetes is not caused by obesity but by being too heavy for your own body”. What does that mean?!
What does it have to do with the headline about jeans at age 21? And what happens to these poor people who were slurping 800 calories a day and are now just back to their normal lives?
I’m hoping I missed something big on this one..
More to come, But first, I want to tell you about one of our great sponsors who helps make Diabetes Connections possible.
Real Good Foods. Where the mission is Be Real Good
They make nutritious foods— grain free, high in protein, never added sugar and from real ingredients—the new Entrée bowls are great. They have a chicken burrito, a cauliflower mash and braised beef bowl.. the lemon chicken I’ve told you about and more! They keep adding to the menu line! You can buy online or find a store near you with their locator right on the website. I’ll put a link in the FB comments and as always at d-c dot com.
Back to the news…
We’ve got another through the skin glucose monitor in the news. Know Labs debuted it’s Know-U device which is very small, fits in your pocket and is powered by what they call Bio R-Fid technology. It emits radio waves to measure specific molecular signatures in the blood through the skin. They’ve also got UBand.. which is a bracelet that does the same thing.
Do they work? According to a 2018 study 97% of the UBand’s readings were within 15% of the values calculated by the Abbot Libre. But that wasn’t a clinical trial – those are starting this year.
And finally, maybe the most glamorous photo featuring an insulin pump.. model Lila Moss – daughter of supermodel Kate Moss – walked the Fendi Versace runway at Milan’s fashion week with her Omnipod very visible. Lila Moss has type 1 and while they family has never really mentioned it, she’s been photographed with her pod on before. Lots of write ups about this – great to see the representation
Please join me wherever you get podcasts for our next episode - The episode out right now is with Marjorie’s Fund – helping people survive diabetes in countries with few resources.. and next week we’re featuring the folks behind the upcoming Pay or Die film about insulin access..
That’s In the News for this week.. if you like it, please share it! Thanks for joining me! See you back here soon.