By: Scott M. King
Here in San Francisco, we are marking the sixth anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake. My insurance company is celebrating by doing all they can to not insure homes against pesky natural disasters. My agent called recently to tell me the company never received our payment, and they were canceling our insurance.
In a panic, I called my wife Nadia to find out when she sent them the check, but she was in the midst of her own crisis. Two-year-old Spencer had just raided the fridge and enjoyed a nice drink of the cat’s antibiotic (which Fluffy is taking for a wound she got from a raccoon, but that’s another story). This is the same child who recently shoved quarters into the tape deck of our car, disabling the device for all time, and the same angel-faced little boy who tried to drive his Fisher Price car over his one-year-old sister Miranda. I think we are finally out of the phase where he liked to knock her over so he could sit on her. Now, at every opportunity, he grabs containers and spills their contents. Tonight at dinner he snatched the bowl of Parmesan cheese and asked, “Can I dump this out?” Thank God he suffered no ill effects from Fluffy’s medicine, but he certainly knows how to push parenting to the brink!
Our October 1995 issue contained the best article we have ever presented. We interviewed dozens of people, and our investigation of Loran Medical Systems was so intriguing that the Wall Street Journal decided to run a story about the company in its October 3, 1995 paper. It was great to see the business community take an interest in a “diabetes topic.”
The writer at the Wall Street Journal, Ralph King (no relation), found that the FDA had sent a letter to Loran Medical Systems in April of 1995 telling them that the treatment must be approved by the FDA before any injections can be given.
I got a call from Dr. Bent Formby of Loran’s medical board. He took exception to our representation of him in our article and wanted to emphasize that he is on a full-time, not half-time, appointment at Sansum Medical Research. That’s not what Dr. Charles Peterson, Director of Sansum, told us, but in the interest of fairness, it seems appropriate to point out Dr. Formby’s feelings.
On the patient side of the story a call came from an irate reader who told me that by publishing the article on Loran, we “are taking away people’s hope.” She wanted to enroll her 13-year-old son in the $20,000 trial and was angry at us for our portrayal of the company. She said her doctor had told her to “do anything to prevent complications in her child,” and she feels that non-profit organizations are doing nothing to help her son.
Hearing this woman’s need and frustration led me once again to reflect on how this difficult disease can sometimes drive people to desperate hopes. Dealing with this side of the business isn’t easy, but it’s all part of the big picture.