Words + work = progress

Guest blog from Jeremy Morgan, international vice president, Lilly Diabetes

Diabetes is a global epidemic. We’ve said it before and we said it again at the 51st European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) congress in Stockholm last week. But repeating it over and over has little impact unless it’s also accompanied by action, which was a prevailing theme at EASD last week. 

EASD gave us some clues into the ways science is advancing in efforts to help people living with diabetes. An array of topics -- from optimized care to cardiovascular effects to next-generation delivery devices – provided the diabetes industry additional insight into this growing disease.

Ensuring a flourishing, competitive environment for our industry is a key part of the efforts to make a meaningful impact in the fight against diabetes. This year I was honoured to be named Vice-Chair of the Healthcare Council of The European Association for Bio-Industries (EuropaBio) trade group, for which industry competiveness is a key mission alongside raising awareness about biotechnology’s benefits and innovations: from health care to diagnostics to research and development.

For our own part, in the past 10 years, Lilly has doubled its overall R&D investment in Europe. Last year, we announced a five-year collaboration with the University of Surrey to study health outcomes in people with type 2 diabetes as we analyse the continuum of care. And we’ve partnered with the French biotech company Adocia in the development of new insulin.

The European Union is doing its part, too. One example is the Joint Action on Chronic Diseases and Healthy Ageing (JA-CHRODIS), a European partnership that focuses on identifying, sharing and implementing best practices across a variety of health issues, including diabetes.  This joint action also includes a pilot on the management of diabetes and its multiple co-morbidities. The JA-CHRODIS is comprised of 60 partners from 26 member states and is an example of the kind of pre-emptive approach necessary in combating chronic diseases.

The prevalence of diabetes requires a global, proactive response. More than 50 million Europeans today have diabetes.  The World Health Assembly predicts that number will grow to 70 million by 2035. But these are not just numbers; they’re people. At Lilly, we aim to make life better for people with diabetes. But our work is not done. The industry’s work is not done. Europe’s work is not done.

Diabetes is a global epidemic. The prevalence numbers are growing.  However, with current treatment and ongoing research, we know that the important work will continue as well.