16 Responses

  1. Jessica Apple
    Jessica Apple May 24, 2012 at 5:03 am | | Reply

    Thanks for this update. Glad to know Lilly is listening to patients!

  2. Amy@Diapeepees
    Amy@Diapeepees May 24, 2012 at 5:09 am | | Reply

    Without sounding snotty — because that’s not how I intend this to sound — it seems like the same group of bloggers are at everything. Granted, they’re the ones that are best known. But it would be nice to hear from some other bloggers, too, who may lend a new perspective once in awhile.

    1. Khürt Williams
      Khürt Williams May 24, 2012 at 6:52 am | | Reply

      It’s all about marketing. Lilly wants to get the most buzz so it will only approach the people in the DOC with the widest reach.

  3. Scott E
    Scott E May 24, 2012 at 6:36 am | | Reply

    It must be tough for a company that is known just for making insulin to try to engage itself with its customers. Insulin is something that our bodies react to, but unlike other diabetes supplies, We don’t INTERact WITH. It can’t boast new colors, smaller sizes, less pain, remote use, built-in databases, trend-spotting abilities, or anything else that the needle, meter, lancer, and pump manufacturers can brag about. While I applaud the effort to engage the PWD community, I’m not quite certain how it makes sense from a business perspective. Insulin is just some funky-smelling liquid in a small bottle that, without a label, looks like any other brand of insulin. If they can make it work better, faster, more consistently, then that’s great — but that’s an obvious goal that you shouldn’t need input from the community to discover. (Now if you could try to put some kind of temperature/potency indicator on the vial so we know if it’s any good, then we’ll talk!)

    On the other hand, I think Sanofi is doing a good job at trying to be a one-stop-shop, introducing a meter with all sorts of bells and whistles to complement its line of insulin. They’re also heavily invested in researching new product ideas through various contest sponsorships. I like that. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sanofi add more DME-type equipment to their product line in the future. Their engagement of the community seems much more positive and focused, like it could produce results both for the company and the individual.

    On a personal level, I admit that I felt some guilt – a sense of betrayal even – when my doctor decided to switch me away from Lilly insulin, which had kept me alive for over 20 years, to a Novo Nordisk product. Part of me still wants to use Lilly, for loyalty and nostalgia’s sake. They are an incredibly honorable company with a proud history. But they should be working on, and getting us excited about, The Next Big Thing, whatever that may be, not just putting on a “we care” face. In this “What have you done for me lately?” world, a couple of Disney books and a few tweets just don’t cut it.

    (I hope this doesn’t read like a scathing rant against Lilly, it’s certainly not intended that way. I’m just confused by all this.)

    1. Khürt Williams
      Khürt Williams May 24, 2012 at 6:50 am | | Reply


  4. Khürt Williams
    Khürt Williams May 24, 2012 at 6:47 am | | Reply

    “We shared thoughts on how we’d like to see some adult-oriented books, which could be inspirational resources for those concerned about living with diabetes into adulthood or even teaching tools for adults with diabetes who want to teach their own kids about diabetes.”

    I’m glad someone brought that up. Someone taking the pulse of the DOC would come away with an impression that the it’s a children’s disease. There is a tendency to forget that all those children become adults at 18.

  5. Anne
    Anne May 24, 2012 at 8:10 am | | Reply

    I recently applied for a position at Lilly. My scientific experience is substantiated, but the only way I could support my work in diabetes was to mention that I myself have Type 1. It was a little scary to do so, but as my colleague mentioned “If they are the kind of company that just makes products for diabetes but doesn’t really care about people with diabetes you do not want to work for them.” I’m also happy I mentioned my knowledge and experience with diabetes alert dogs (my own puppy is being worked with now and will come home at the end of June!). At the time, I thought it sounded crazy but I’m happy to hear Lilly investing in the local Indiana nonprofit :-)

  6. Tony Rose
    Tony Rose May 24, 2012 at 8:17 am | | Reply

    Some great comments here and it’s probably difficult for some to not feel a bit slighted when there are so many great bloggers and opinions in the DOC that are not as well known as many of the attendees. Re: Khurt – it does seem that reach played a part in the selection process.

    It was great getting to know you more Mike and I appreciated being able to talk in more detail at dinner. Glad things are going well with you and your joining DM. I’m not a writer, so I’ll end here :)

  7. Pete
    Pete May 24, 2012 at 8:55 am | | Reply

    Unfortunately, the larger issue (for me) is not that Lilly hasn’t been engaged with the blog community or patients – its that it seems to have fallen far behind its competitors in research. Lilly made a very costly decision several years ago to effectively walk away from the insulin business and hand it to Novo and Sanofi. They tried to compete with Lantus with the 75/25 product but weren’t able to stem the Lantus tide with T-2 patients. With Humalog, Novo swamped the endo offices with free samples and entered into very cost competitive contracts with insurance companies. The net result is that my endo, and many, many others, walked away from Lilly insulin when there was never a compelling clinical reason to do so. I’m sure Lilly had its reasons for not competing in the insulin business as competitively as SA and Novo did. Whatever their reasons were, they weren’t good. What Lilly is left with now (unfortunately) is an overall sense of “nostalgia” for its products that simply can’t compete with the new products, samples, etc. that Novo and SA have been coming up with. Lilly’s diabetes story is as compelling as it gets. Despite Novo’s protestations, no one did more than Lilly over the years for diabetics. But time marches on and you always have to be working towards developing new, and impactful, products. I think the Lilly Humalog pen is better. I don’t see much, if any, difference between Humalog and Novolog. But with the new Novo pen and new Novo basal on the near horizon, I’m not sure what, if anything, Lilly can do to regain its momentum in the insulin using community. Was anything shared about new Lilly insulins and/or other Lilly T-1 products on the horizon? If so, what do they have in the pipeline.

    1. Scott E
      Scott E May 24, 2012 at 9:11 am | | Reply

      Pete, I agree with most everything you’ve written. However, I don’t know if I’d go as far to say that endos walked away from Lilly with “never a compelling clinical reason”. My endo switched be because my BG was going low on Humalog after injection and before the food had a chance to work, resulting in some erratic spikes around mealtimes.

      Also (if my research is accurate), remember that Humalog was not FDA approved for pump use until early last year. Plenty of people pumped Humalog anyway, but I’m sure an equal number did not for that very reason. While you can direct blame for this in any number of ways, the bottom line is that Novolog was approved much earlier, and as a result gained significant market-share.

  8. Judi
    Judi May 24, 2012 at 10:12 am | | Reply

    I have used Lilly insulin for 53 of my 54 years with diabetes. The switch was made in my case for monetary reasons — Novalog is a Level 3 class and Humalog is a Level 4. If Lilly would work on becoming more competative in the insurance market and get their product at the same level as the other insulins, I’d switch right back. After all these years, I feel a lot of loyal to Lilly but a higher level co-pay is too much to afford.

  9. mcityrk
    mcityrk May 24, 2012 at 10:20 am | | Reply

    A crazy out-of-the-blue thought: With the extraordinary price to train an animal to be an early alert system for upcoming hypo events, why isn’t some researcher out there discovering what molecule it is they can sense to provide this early prediction. Then work with someone working on artificial-nose gas sensors on this specific target molecule to provide a useful assist device for diabetic patients. Seems like the market would be large enough!!

  10. Tom Beatson
    Tom Beatson August 25, 2012 at 9:43 am | | Reply

    Another thing Lilly has been doing for many years is awarding 50-year medals (silver, engraved), similar to what is done by Joslin Diabetes Center. Lilly and Joslin cooperated on this until a federal agency forced an end to the cooperation. But I’m pretty sure Lilly is still making the awards to those qualified individuals who apply for them. I was dx in Dec. 1942, so I am indebted to Lilly for the most recent 69 years of my life.

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