The advances of medical science have been nothing short of remarkable over the last few decades. Illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes have become chronic illnesses. Proper ongoing medication and regular physician interaction have resulted in longer and healthier lives. Yet, the emotional and psychological costs of living with these disease states are just beginning to be understood in healthcare. As the grandfather of two type-I diabetics, I have watched first-hand how the disease is an ever present factor in their lives - 7/24/365. There is no escaping the constant reminder that their lives differ from that of their peers. From the monitoring of their blood glucose levels to the calculation of carbs in their diet, every event in their lives is driven by blood sugar levels - either steady-state, too high or too low.
At times, I become cynical about the incentives or disincentives that stymie the clinical research so necessary to achieve real life-improving breakthroughs. We watch the prices of insulin continue to escalate to the point where there are circumstances in which a parent has to decide between insulin and adequate food or housing. I often wonder, considering the huge profits the drug manufacturers make on the sale of insulin, what role these executives play in placing speed bumps on the road to progress and breakthroughs.