World Diabetes Day Thoughts
The NHS is one of the great achievements of modern Britain. For larger scale health problems, it’s well-suited to provide excellent care. Diabetes is a good example of this: large-scale data analysis provides effective solutions for an illness that relatively easy to manage. As an incidental buy interesting detail, diabetes accounts for 10% of NHS spend.
Since my diagnosis as a diabetic in 2006, I’ve never had any problems with the way the NHS has managed my treatment. In fact, the reverse, I’ve been very grateful for it. However, as NHS resources continue to get squeezed by government, diabetes treatment that was once on a par with the most expensive private treatment, has begun to lag behind.
There are two main mass marketed innovations in diabetic care, neither of which is readily available through the NHS, but both of which are known to most diabetics. The first is flash glucose monitoring (blood measurement that requires a patch on the skin, rather than regular finger-pricking) and the second is insulin pumps (these pumps provide a constant supply of insulin, attached to the body, in place of using an epipen that requires disposable needles). Now, in addition to not being widely available from the NHS, these new treatments are affordable for lots of consumers.
For the first time, diabetes behemoths like Bayer, Abbott, and Dexcom, need to re-think their strategy in the UK. They can’t simply rely on doing deals with local NHS buying groups and jettison consumer focus; instead they need to recognise that the market has shifted, and, diabetics are have a new consideration set, and are likely to expect more from them.