Today’s post comes from Dr. Robert Heine, Distinguished Diabetes Scholar at Eli Lilly and Company, and #WeWontRest ambassador.
The number of people diagnosed with diabetes is rapidly increasing. One in eleven adults (aged 20-79) now has diabetes globally, according to the IDF’s Diabetes Atlas. Despite major improvements in diabetes management, only a minority of people with diabetes achieve treatment targets suggested in medical guidelines. Many people with diabetes develop complications of this condition.
Diabetes and its complications are responsible for 12 per cent of global health expenditures1. The treatment of complications, for instance, accounted for 75 percent of the total diabetes related costs for German type 2 diabetes patients followed over six years 2. Delays in diagnosis, limitations inherent to current treatment options and suboptimal adherence make diabetes-related complications more likely. This could lead to an increase in diabetes costs in the future.
It is therefore crucial to develop novel treatment options, guidelines and mechanisms to tackle the medical, social and economic burden of diabetes. Substantial collaboration and investment into innovation is required to improve the health outcomes in new and existing patients.
The diabetes community must work together to implement the following measures:
• Take ownership of the problem and help bridge the gap to improve outcomes
• Pivot the view from a passive patient to a critical, informed consumer
• Mobilize policymakers to address and alleviate the problem
• Empower European patients and stakeholders to create an integrated coalition of people and organizations sharing common goals toward better patient outcomes
At Lilly, we believe that partnering is the only way forward. That’s why we are collaborating with leading European and global diabetes organizations to advance patient outcomes.
On one hand, we have joined forces with The European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes to create the EFSD/Lilly European Diabetes Research Fund. The cooperation is designed to promote greater European diabetes research and support projects from non-profit European research institutions. Our vision is for each diabetes patient in Europe to receive high-quality care, yet there are notable issues that first need to be tackled.
Also, our collaboration with the recently born European Diabetes Forum (EuDF), a long-term multi-stakeholder initiative within the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), is going to contribute to the advancement of the diabetes agenda and to policy change, both at European and national level. The mission of the EuDF is to ensure the translation of research into policy action toward better diabetes care at a national level. This can only be achieved by increasing the awareness of diabetes, improving the quality of care, and reducing complications.
These partnerships are crucial to advancing diabetes care and improving outcomes. Effective innovation will only continue through investments in research and collaboration. At Lilly, we are striving to make life better for people who live with diabetes around the world by providing a broad and growing range of therapy options, and a continued commitment towards innovation for better outcomes. We are proud to support the #WeWontRest commitment to discovering new medicines and improving the health of patients everywhere. But nothing is possible without close collaboration with our partners and key stakeholders.
 IDF Diabetes Atlas Seventh Edition, International Diabetes Federation 2015.
2 Martin S, et al. Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes. 2007;115:495-501.