21 Million and Counting

To be honest with you, I only recently got used to saying “18.2 million people have diabetes”. I was stuck on telling people, “15 million have diabetes” for the longest time. In fact, I can even remember saying “13 million have diabetes” only a few years ago.

But the diabetes epidemic doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

As we report in this issue, 21 million people in this country now have diabetes, according to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s 7 percent of the U.S. population, or, one out of every 14 people.

Yes, we have heard time and time again that the diabetes epidemic can be stopped or reversed, and it seems the only advice we get is “lose weight and exercise more.” This month, however, we discover who and what some of the real culprits in the diabetes epidemic may be in an article by Andy Isaacson (“Recipe for Disaster”).

We have always known that over-consumption of food leads to extra caloric intake and weight gain. In this feature, however, we discover how things like vending and soda machines in schools, as well as government officials and corporate America are contributing to the fattening of an entire generation of young Americans. If this doesn’t change, 21 million people with diabetes will seem like nothing in the coming years. Please read the article. We would love to hear your thoughts on where you think the responsibility for the diabetes epidemic lies and what we can do about it.

Is Pargluva On the Ropes?

It was only a few months ago that I was at the ADA Scientific Sessions in San Diego, and diabetes scientists and professionals left and right were coming up to me and saying, “Pargluva is the next big type 2 drug—Keep your eye on Pargluva!”

Well, we have been keeping our eye on Pargluva, and now we discover that it appears to have unfavorable safety data, despite an FDA advisory panel recommending its approval. I commend Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb (Pargluva’s co-developers). In light of the unfavorable data, it appears the two companies may be delaying Pargluva’s development. Of course, they will lose millions because of this, but they are sidestepping future problems that may have made Pargluva another Vioxx or Rezulin.

In the past few years, we have seen drugs receive FDA approval despite there being one skeptic on the advisory panel questioning its safety. The drug is approved and people have become ill or die because of the safety data that were overlooked or swept under the rug by the FDA and pharmaceutical company in their rush to get the drug approved. Good for Merck and BMS! Read our article (“Is Pargluva On the Ropes?”) for more information.

I hope you all have a great New Year.

Scott King
Type 1, 31 years (and counting)

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