Empathy, Awareness and Innovation: Big Pharma Marks World Diabetes Day

Around 371 million people in the world have diabetes, and according the Canadian Diabetes Association, more than 9 million of them are living in Canada. In 1991, the International Diabetes Foundation established World Diabetes Day, an occasion centered on raising advocacy and awareness, and on keeping diabetes firmly in the public spotlight. Students currently enrolled in pharmaceutical courses will emerge into an industry market where diabetes prevention and management is of paramount concern.

This week, we profile Big Pharma companies who not only facilitate cutting-edge clinical research on diabetes, but also develop empathy-building educational campaigns, allocate grant money to international projects, and invest in much needed new medicines

Abbott: Building Awareness through Understanding

Abbott is known for its wide range of diabetes products, including innovative glucose testing tools and computer software designed to help patients track glucose and insulin data.

As a unique way to honor World Diabetes Day, Abbott has created an ongoing infographic that helps users understand what life is like for an insulin-dependent diabetes patient. The interactive video takes viewers through a “day in the life” experience, from morning breakfast requirements to the realities of repeated glucose tests, and the administering of insulin.

Bristol-Myers Squibb: Funding New Discoveries

In conjunction with their Together on Diabetes campaign, Bristol-Myers Squib recently announced 4 new grants focused on the important link between type 2 diabetes, depression and distress. According to the American Diabetes Association, people living with diabetes are at greater risk for depression than people without the disease.

John Damonti, president of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation agrees that “type 2 diabetes and depression or distress is common comorbidities associated with poorly controlled diabetes and suboptimal health outcomes.” In order to address this critical issue, the Foundation has awarded 4 three-year $450 000 research grants to several American research institutions, including the University of Michigan and the University of Colorado

New Medicines: Providing Alternative Therapies

November saw the timely arrival of six new diabetes drugs. Three have been approved by the FDA, and three are currently running the gamut of pharmaceutical quality assurance measures before their expected FDA approval. Amongst the innovators is the Japanese pharmaceutical company Takeda Pharmaceutical CL and its American sister company Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A, who just released three new type two diabetes drugs: Nesina, Oseni, and Kazano.

  • Nesina works to control how the pancreas secretes insulin
  • Oseni helps control blood glucose levels
  • Kazano combines two commonly used drugs into one tablet, and reduces the amount of glucose produced in the liver

Finally, Bristol-Myers Squibb/Astrazenica Alliance has produced a drug called Onglyza, customized for patients who cannot take the older standby, metformin.


What do you think is the most effective way we can address the global problem of diabetes?


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