Notes from the gathering on 26.04.2017. We had the pleasure to meet Guido ( @GLS9000 ), who produces scientific content at the Diabetes Liga.
Guido: Insulin is very well organized in EU. Belgium is 14th (out of 30) in the European index. The medicine doesn’t cost much here. Pumps, sensors etc. come with the package patients get from convention centers. The Diabetes Liga sells some stuff like glucometers, sensors, strips. It doesn't make sense to sell other stuff, since they get it cheaply from convention centers. The convention centers are an intermediary between hospitals and the government health services.
Maria (@mboto ): it's the same in Spain, it's almost free.
Guido: The problem is clearly different in the US vs. here. In the US the price is a problem. Here the problem is more type 2 diabetes, specifically the prevention, as it's a lifestyle diseases. Many organizations work on that. Diabetes still costs the government way too much money because of it: checkups, dietary stuff, ... Type 2 diabetes here is also tied to poverty. The best way to reach these poorer people is the doctor, but they usually have no time.
Maria: it would be best to focus on this type, because it’s an actual problem here. It’s hard to reach these poor groups, we could help there. An art project would be a good medium in general to spread awareness to the public.
Through the non-profit Ekoli, we do come into contact with poorer and vulnerable groups of children in Belgium. This ties in with the idea of @NiekD for educational outreach. It would be a way to assist with the pressing matters here.
Vincent: someone is paying for the insulin here. Probably tax payers. Guido: yes, there are intermediaries that gain a lot from the government. In the US that is much more. There was a scandal not too long ago: big companies were making deals. Walmart is now also bringing back an old version of insulin to sell it cheaper. People here are spoiled though: they are always asking for faster, better insulin. They wouldn’t settle anymore for older types.
Other info around the Diabetes Liga. They have about 80.000 patient members and 2.000 professionals. The members determine what the organisation does, and cheaper insulin simply isn't a policy point here. Guido mentioned the Open Insulin project at the office, but it was not a priority at all.
Pieter will design some infographics that can be used for communicating about the issues surrounding diabetes/insulin. The International Diabetes Foundation has some good ones already, these can be used as well or serve as a starting point.
Thanks a lot Guido for the interesting input! I'm interested to hear what others think. How can we shape the project so that it also meets the needs of the Belgium situation?
The next gathering is in two weeks: Wednesday 10 May at 8pm @ ReaGent