Friday, April 15, 2011

I want to move to London

My local forecast: Mostly sunny with a light breeze at a balmy 71 degrees. Our dogwoods, lilacs and fiery pink azaleas are in full bloom under an idyllic Carolina blue sky.

Yet... I'm a bit jealous of my friends in cold and foggy London. After all, they get better insulin pumps and drugs than us Americans. Ironically, many of them are made by American pharmaceutical companies. Really.

Case in point: Medtronic's Paradigm VEO has been available on the UK for around two years. This sweet, little pump has a built in CGM (continuous glucose monitor) and an auto shut off if your blood sugar drops too low. It's a step closer to an artificial pancreas. However, it's still not available in the U.S. and we may not ever see it. Why? 3 letters: F-D-A.

The FDA or Food and Drug Administration is in charge of protecting US citizens from bad and defective medical devices. Unfortunately, the agency is overworked and understaffed. And they're held hostage to antiquated processes. And they have a culture driven by fear.

The agency has an overarching philosophy: "better safe than sorry." Perhaps the FDA officers don't realize that T1 diabetics ALREADY live in a world of immense risk that easily justifies the fast adoption of innovative technologies like the VEO. The good doctors and scientists WANT to help us. They've fast tracked treatments before under the spectre of an AIDs epidemic.

I believe they need to adopt a similar mindset now... especially since Cellnovo will be introducing a nifty new iphone-like pump/cgm later this year... in London. Sigh.

Photo Credit: yisris on Flickr


Katie said...

Let's go!

Pat said...

Well put my friend. It is time that this country became a leader in the medical world again. This would be a good place to start.

Kimberly Chisholm said...

I'm Kim Chisholm, writing from the JDRF annual conference in Denver where there has been much conversation about the benefits of CGM (well documented in a large study recently). While there is a decent amount of frustration that better CGMs are available abroad, we have also gotten a clear message about how hard JDRF is working toward better technology (smaller pumps with low glucose suspend, redundancies and better ways for people with T1D to see the information from their sensors). The way JDRF has worked to accelerate the FDA approval of outpatient trials of the artificial pancreas are really inspirational. One upshot? Be sure you are signed up as a JDRF advocate so that you--like Josh in the post above--can DO something to help JDRF accelerate the adoption of better technology in the US.