Wednesday, May 13, 2015

DBW- Changes

This is my post for Day 4 of DBlog Week.  Interested in more?  Check it out here.

"Today let's talk about changes, in one of two ways.  Either tell us what you'd most like to see change about diabetes, in any way.  This can be management tools, devices, medications, people's perceptions, your own feelings – anything at all that you feel could use changing.  OR reflect back on some changes you or your loved one has seen or been through since being diagnosed with diabetes.  Were they expected or did they surprise you?"

Of course the change we'd all like to see is a cure.  But in the meantime there are lot of other changes I'd love to see.  At the top of that list for me would be accessibility to technology for more people.  There are a lot of great options out there to help make living with diabetes easier.  From pens, to pumps and CGMs that are becoming more accurate and integrated, and now closed loop systems on the horizon.  They're all amazing advancements that can improve quality of life for those who choose to use them.  Or those who can afford to.  I have had the opportunity to use a Dexcom CGM for a short time and loved it.  It was easier to monitor my blood sugar meaning it stayed in range more often.  For someone who forgets to test as often as they should, it's a great tool.  But it's also an expensive one.  I have a high deductible insurance plan and, while I'm thankful to have insurance at all, it doesn't cover a lot of extras.  With my deductible met I paid $300 to get started on a CGM. On top of that was another $80 for sensors.  After my deductible reset it would have been even more but I learned I could get them through my pharmacy benefit which brought the cost down to around $50 which was doable...until my transmitter met the end of its battery life.  A new one will cost me $600 if my deductible hasn't been met.  I would love to go on a pump because I know it would help me with tighter control and a better A1c.  But a pump would cost me $900 on the low end and $6000 on the high end.  With the lower end the monthly cost would be much higher,  Even with a cheaper option my monthly cost of supplies being paid out of pocket would make it hard for me to put food on the table.  Most of the pump companies do offer payment plans, which helps, but for many people that still eliminates it as an option.  I'm not against companies making money.  I don't believe companies providing these goods need to be non profit, although I'm not thrilled at the thought of someone profiting off my disease.  But I find it hard to believe that a small piece of plastic with a radio transmitter inside needs to cost $600 for the company to turn a profit.  Nor does a pump need to cost $6000.  I can get a cell phone or a computer for a much smaller cost.  I'm not an expert on pumps and won't claim to me but I don't believe there is any more technology put into a pump than a state of the art computer.  There is such a large group of people left unable to get the care they need because of the cost.  This doesn't even include the people who struggle to afford insulin every month because it costs several hundred dollars a month.
I'm not asking for companies to stop making money.  Just find a way to make it more affordable for everyone.

I work for a very large retail company.  For any given week I can look at what single category did the most sales in my store.  And in each of those weeks I can guarantee you that in the top 5 one of the categories will be diabetes.  Last week it was number 3 at $13,000.  The week before it was number one with $39,000.  Before that number 5 with $22,000.  And this is at a retailer that sells its goods at a lower price point than most others, including diabetes supplies.  I don't think that any of these companies are struggling to turn a profit.  I think they can give up a little to expand accessibility.  That is change I can get behind.

Head over and read the rest of the great "Changes" posts!


  1. Nice point regarding the cost of diabetes tech versus computers/cell phones. I think you're onto something there!

  2. Amen! Its 2015. Coming up with an affordable solution should be a walk in the park!

  3. Somehow I can not understand why the devices for diabetes are so expensive, too. I once opened an insulin pump. There is not much in it. A small electric motor and some electronics. I have pictures of it on my blog. I guess most of the costs are arising from the service, the hotline and the instruction.

    Good luck with your finazierungsplänen for the insulin pump and the CGMS.

  4. I think the cost of our medical devices is largely due to the costs of dealing with the regulatory process and the costs of covering liabilities. The process (in this country anyway) is cumbersome and expensive, and I honestly believe this is why the release of new, innovative devices is so slow. And as for liability -- that explains why I've been given five replacement pumps (in warranty, at the manufacturer's expense) for the price of one.

    I'm not saying greed doesn't play a role, but there are a ton of other factors, beyond the manufacturer's contol, as well.