When Swiss pump maker Ypsomed launches brings it’s business to America, likely in 2022, it’ll be with Lilly Diabetes as their partner. The Ypsopump will be the first pump in the US that only takes one brand of insulin. This week, we spoke with Mike Mason, president of Lilly Diabetes about that decision, more about how the actual pump system will work and their timeline.
Stacey also talks about how they were able to use a coupon to keep Benny on humalog – it wasn’t as easy as some have said. And she has advice to make it work for you.
Plus, new A1C guidelines for kids with diabetes.
This podcast is not intended as medical advice. If you have those kinds of questions, please contact your health care provider.
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Stacey Simms 0:00
Diabetes Connections is brought to you by Dario Health. Manage your blood glucose levels increase your possibilities by Gvoke HypoPen, the first premixed auto injector for very low blood sugar and by Dexcom take control of your diabetes and live life to the fullest with Dexcom.
This is Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms.
Stacey Simms 0:27
This week, Swiss pump maker Ypsomed is teaming up with Lilly Diabetes to launch an insulin pump. Here in the US, it’ll be the first pump that only takes one brand of insulin is Lily about the thinking behind that decision.
Mike Mason 0:41
We look at this ad we don’t look at it necessarily as limiting options, we look at bringing up a new option to the marketplace that as an integrated solution can provide a new way to be able to control the blood sugar. So that’s how we look at it.
Stacey Simms 0:57
That’s Mike Mason, president of Lilly Diabetes, we talked about what that integrated solution is more about how the actual system will work, and of course more about its unique proprietary nature.
I’ll also catch you up on our insulin coupon experience and talk about new A1C guidelines for kids with diabetes.
This podcast is not intended as medical advice. If you have those kinds of questions, please contact your health care provider.
Welcome to another week of the show where we aim to educate and inspire about diabetes with an emphasis on people who use insulin. This year, I’m doing a heavy focus on technology. So this episode is a bit of a follow up, or maybe a partner to the one we did in January with Ypsomed. As was announced late 2020 Ypsomed and Lilly diabetes are teaming up to bring the existing YpsoPump which is used in Europe and Canada and some other countries around the world to bring it here to the US hopefully to submit to the FDA later this year, and be in the marketplace in 2022. The Ypsopump, as you heard in that episode already has a lot of features that are very popular. It’s a very lightweight pump, it has the hybrid closed loop system, similar to Tandem t slim, similar to what Omni pod is hoping to launch later this year. So there’s a demand for this kind of pump. But the question is what’s going to happen because of the proprietary nature, as you’ll hear in this interview, and as we talked about with Ypsomed, this pump will only take Lilly branded insulin.
So to that end, and did you know that I have a weekly newsletter they do. And this year, I added a poll to it, which is really very popular. I’m so excited to see this. And when we did the episode with Ypsomed, I asked in the newsletter about your opinion on it, would you use a pump that only took one type of insulin? And I gotta say the results were really interesting and I thought kind of surprising. So 40% of people said yes if it’s a great pump that is worth it 48% said maybe I’d have to feel confident about my insurance coverage and 12% said no way I thought the no way would be a bigger number so we’ll keep those polls going I have a link always in the show notes about signing up for the newsletter it’s very easy to do I don’t spam you come on you know it’s just me. I do send out a newsletter though with the week’s show some thoughts about it that poll and some other information you know, as social media shows us all fewer posts frankly from the pages that we like and the people that we follow. This is a great way to make sure that you do not miss an episode and that you know what’s going on with the show at all times.
Okay, Mike Mason from Lilly in just a moment but first Diabetes Connections is brought to you by Gvoke HypoPen and almost everyone who takes insulin has experienced a low blood sugar and that can be scary. A very low blood sugar is really scary. That’s where Gvoke HypoPen comes in Gvoke is the first auto injector to treat very low blood sugar Gvoke HypoPen is pre mixed and ready to go with no visible needle and that means it’s easy to use. How easy is it to pull off the red cap and push the yellow end onto bare skin and then hold it for five seconds. That’s it. Find out more go to Diabetes connections.com and click on the Gvoke logo. Gvoke shouldn’t be used in patients with pheochromocytoma or insulinoma visit Gvoke glucagon comm slash risk.
My guest this week is the Senior Vice President of Eli Lilly and company and the president of Lilly diabetes. Mike Mason has been with Lilly since 1989. we last talked to Mike on the show back in 2018. It was our first conversation about the price of insulin. And we of course bring that up here in this interview. But we are mostly focusing on the pump and the partnership with Ypsomed and what it’s going to take to bring it to the US although I promise I do talk about pricing and accessibility and everything you want to know. Mike, thanks so much for joining I’m really interested to learn more appreciate you coming on and spending some time with me.
Mike Mason 5:04
Happy to do it, Stacy, appreciate what you do for people living with diabetes.
Stacey Simms 5:08
Let’s just start by talking about the partnership here with Ypsomed. How did this come about? Tell me about that, you know, the basics. And I guess we could start with really just, you know, why are you at really excited about this?
Mike Mason 5:21
Now we’re excited about it. I mean, what we do is we step back, and we take a look at where the unmet needs are in the marketplace, today, and then how science and technology is developing. And what we saw was that, unfortunately, a good percentage of people who who live with type one and type two diabetes for own insulin are not in good control. And so we saw an unmet need there. And we saw enough advancements in cgms, as well as technology that we felt that putting insulin together with a CGM, and in good software and analytics, that we hope can provide better outcomes with really less burdensome for someone who lives with type one or type two diabetes. So that’s why we were interested in getting into this space. And as we were looking at options, we thought it was best for us to pursue a partner that had a good pump that was on the market today, who was an excellent developer and manufacturer of pumps. And we found the perfect partner in Ypsomed. So we we really liked their pump. They’re an excellent Swiss bass manufacturer, and we think it’s a good cultural fit for us, we think we really will work quite well together. And we’re both very customer focused and want to make sure that ultimately, what’s most important is helping people who live with diabetes achieved the control,
Stacey Simms 6:49
before I asked you about the functionality of the pump. And before I asked you about the features of the pump, and more about the partnership, I’m just curious if we could go back, I was at the blogger event that Lily had in Cambridge, in 2018, where you showed us kind of the prototype of a pump that you were working on with a different company, can I ask, What happened to that is that not going forward in any way, shape, or form now,
Mike Mason 7:13
oh, we very much hope that that product goes to the marketplace, the rights to the DEKA pump has gone back to DEKA, we really value our partnership with them. We think it’s a very advanced pump. And we think it could really help people living with diabetes. And we know the DEKA is advancing, planning on, you know, advancing that pump to the marketplace. For us, we reflected back on how we can, you know, best use our capabilities to help people with diabetes and other therapeutic areas. And as we were facing COVID, we reflected on our ability to develop a new antibody in nine months and get that to the marketplace and manufacture that and we felt that as a company, our development, and manufacturing focus should really be on developing new medications versus new new pumps and new devices like that. So we decided our deck arrangement, we were responsible for the manufacturing and a good part of the development. And we felt it was better for us to find a partner who already had a pump, who is a manufacturer and developer, and for us to say primarily focus on building the integrated system and really having that experience with the people living with Type One Diabetes and type two diabetes.
Stacey Simms 8:34
So any DEKA pump that goes forward, will that still be used with the proprietary cartridges that we’re going to talk about down the road? I mean, it’s slowly still involved with the DEKA pump whatever comes to market, or is it basically all in their hands now,
Mike Mason 8:47
it’s in their hands at this point.
Stacey Simms 8:49
Let’s talk a little bit more about that. Ypsomed partnership. As you listen, we did an episode with them. They went through a lot of the factors and different functionality of the pump. So I’m not going to go through that all again here. But I am curious, Mike, if you could talk a little bit about the algorithms in the pump. In other words, how might it be different from the other pumps that are coming to market tandems control? IQ software is one the Omni pod horizon, that sort of thing.
Mike Mason 9:14
Yeah, I mean, I think algorithm will be critically important at the end of day what’s what’s most important is that you you build an integrated system and cannot help someone achieve better control. And what we think is we can use our 97 years of experience with insulin to build algorithms that that do a very good job of controlling insulin and blood blood sugar. And so that’s our plans if we as we develop new products like Lyumjev our new ultra rapid insulin. This provides us to potentially provide unique algorithms that can really maximize the potential of a product like longevity.
Stacey Simms 9:52
So let me ask you the the biggest question for my listeners is all about the proprietary nature of the pump. And before we get into that, let me just ask you a few details about it. But only use humalog or will it use other insulins you mentioned, Lyumjev things like that.
Mike Mason 10:06
Yeah, let me tell you a little bit about the pump and why we were excited about the pump, we think it’s a very good form factor. It’s a small pump, it has a kind of icon based screen that makes it very easy to use for people who were. But one of the most interesting parts of the pump for us was the fact that they that uses a 1.6 millimeter cartridge. So it’s a prefilled cartridge, that then gets plugged into the pump. And what that allows is allows someone to change if their reservoir goes down. So if the cartridge runs out, they can add new insulin independent of their infusion shed change. So if you think about the future of infusion sets, we think that will grow from three days to longer than three days, just like we saw the wear of cgms increase. Well, that doesn’t help if your reservoir if you have to change your infusion set every time you use your your reservoir up. And so we believe that the 1.6 ml cart and the fact that they can, you could do kind of a hot change and change that independently. infusion pump should be a really nice feature for someone living with Type One Diabetes, or even in particular type two diabetes who uses larger amounts of insulin on a daily basis, be able to get the full life on an infusion set and be able to add insulin very easily into the pump. So that was one of the primary features that we liked. And so right now that 1.6 ml cartridge isn’t on the market. And so in our press release, we communicated that we needed to make sure that we did launch that 1.6 ml cartridge in our insulins, both humalog and loon jet to make sure that that people could use our products in that pump.
Stacey Simms 11:51
When it comes to market. It will only let me ask it this way. Right now in Europe and in Canada, though it takes the prefilled cartridge the same pump of novo, right I mean, these 1.6 milliliter cartridges exists elsewhere. This is a US only type of modification. Is it a different kind of pump that’s manufactured in the US? How does that happen?
Right back to Mike answering that question. But first Diabetes Connections is brought to you by Daario health. The bottom line you know you need a plan of action with diabetes. We’ve been really lucky that Benny’s endocrinologist has helped us with that and that he understands the plan has to change has been he gets older you want that kind of support so take your diabetes management to the next level with Daario health they’re published Studies demonstrate high impact results for active users like improved in range percentage within three months reduction of a one see within three months at a 58% decrease in occurrences of severe hypoglycemic events, try Darias diabetes success plan and make a difference in your diabetes management go to my dario.com forward slash Diabetes Connections for more proven results and for information about the plan now back to Mike about how the mechanics of the proprietary nature of the pump will work
Mike Mason 13:17
well in the us right now there’s that 1.6 ml cartridge isn’t on the market place so we’ll have to see you know is that advances is still kind of early on in development so we don’t really know what instance will be available in the US for this you know in this cartridge size. But what do you think is important is first of all, I don’t think anyone should be worried if they’re on novels insulin or any other instance there’s going to be plenty of pumps really good quality pumps for them to use so I wouldn’t have you know anyone be concerned about their ability to have a high quality pump to use with their insulin what what we see is we we see an opportunity to provide a you know, an integrated, very simple to use pop another option for people living with type one and type two diabetes to have a an integrated, simple experience to improve their their blood control.
Stacey Simms 14:08
Yeah, no, I think it’s it looks like a fantastic pump. It’s tiny, it’s light. I know people in Europe who used to love it. I love the idea of having more pumps in the United States. But just to be clear, so I guess the the question about the proprietary nature that we keep referring to is it just because there’s no prefilled cartridges of other insulins available in the United States? I mean you probably cannot answer this so I’m gonna say this out loud and you can say no comment or nothing but if I have a yep so mid pump that is approved in here and let’s say 2022 and I bring in novo rapid or you know Novo Nordisk branded insulin from Canada in the same kind of glass insulin cartridge and I stick it in the pump I’ve made my IP so med Lily pump now compatible with other insulins.
Unknown Speaker 14:56
Okay, didn’t you comment on that
Mike Mason 15:00
Wow, yeah, you’re expecting a lot of people moving bringing product over from from Canada, I, you know, it’s still we’re still very early on in our apps is at this point, things are gonna have to develop and we’ll get a better answer that question down the road.
Stacey Simms 15:14
Got it? Okay, I know, I know, you cannot speculate you have to be so careful on what you say. And I appreciate you coming on and answering these questions. But I mean, I’m sure you can understand in a market that has three available insulin pumps in the United States that when one comes in, people have questions about why should I switch to him? And the biggest question that I have seen is, well, pumps usually have a four year warranty. And my insurance changes every year, whether I have with the same insurance or not, the terms often change, including what insulin they want me to use, we just went through this with my son this year, we had been using one type of insulin for a long time, and they switched us to another brand. And, you know, it’s disconcerting, and it’s a little, you know, it’s, it would make I’ll be honest with you, Mike, it would make me hesitant with the United States healthcare situation being what it is right now, to go to a pump, that would lock me into one kind of insulin, you guys have got to be thinking about that. What are the discussions? Like? Can you share anything about that?
Mike Mason 16:12
Well, let me tell you kind of how we think about I mean, we, our goal is develop an integrated solution, I kind of look at it a little bit like the computer market, where, you know, early on, you know, you were able to and you still can today is build a an integrated system, you know, you can pick the monitor, you want the processor you want. And my brother continues to do that. And he has a great computer that works really well for him. And for myself, that’s not what I’m looking for a computer, I’ve got four kids and a lot to do. And I want something that’s just gonna work, I don’t necessarily care what the processor is, or what the monitor is. And so that, you know, I kind of went to a Mac 1520 years ago, because it was simple solution. So it was another option out there, I think, you know, Apple provided a another option to people who needed to get work done and wanted to use a computer, we kind of look at that the same way. On the pump side, I think you’re gonna have people who are want to have each component and be able to build that. But if we look at some segment of the market, and in particular those people with with type two diabetes, we believe a simple solution can provide, you know, a real good answer for those individuals. So what we look at this ad, we don’t look at it necessarily as limiting options, we look at bringing a new option to the marketplace that as an integrated solution can provide a new way to be able to control their blood sugar. So that’s how we look at it.
Stacey Simms 17:40
So let’s talk a little bit more about that integrated system. When I spoke to Ypsomed, they talked about it using a Dexcom having a very robust app, it looked like you were able to bolus by phone or you would be by the time it comes to the United States. Is the partnership with Dexcom exclusive or do you think you might work with other companies like Abbott, you know, on their libri and different cgms that could be integrated into the system?
Mike Mason 18:04
Yeah, right now it’s a three way partnership between us and and you have submit and then with your leveraging Dexcom CGM. At this point, we’ll have to see how things progress and whether or not we bring Abbott or other CGM into the system.
Stacey Simms 18:22
Ypsomed is also very much a pen company. And when I remember in that 2018 event that I’ve talked about before, Lily was also talking about integrative pens and things like that. Is that part of this deal here too? Or is it just a pump?
Mike Mason 18:36
Now, this was just an exclusive partnership.
Stacey Simms 18:38
So when when you were looking at it, so med pump, as we mentioned, it’s very light, it’s very intuitive. Have you tested it? Or have they tested it in the US market yet? Is that something that you’ll be doing in terms of, you know, human factors and how people respond to it? And that sort of thing?
Mike Mason 18:53
Yes, we have to, you know, it’ll be submitted to the regulatory agencies in order to gain approval in the US market. And as part of that, it will be tested in the US through human factors. And we think it will, will do quite well. We’ve done a lot of market research and interviewed people who use pumps are who are interested in using pumps. And we think that the attributes of the product are going to be well received in the US market. You know,
Stacey Simms 19:19
again, I don’t know how much you can answer on this question. But when you bring a pump like this that’s been used in many other countries for several years, is the testing different than say, you know, what you were what you were originally planning from Cambridge with the DEKA pump, a brand new pump, something that hadn’t been on the market yet. I would imagine that it’s a I don’t want to say a little smoother, but it’s got to be different. When it’s already been out there and used in 1000s of people.
Mike Mason 19:42
The information is helpful, but the application is similar for every pump, no matter where it’s approved, or whether it hasn’t been approved before. So you know, the FDA requirements are the same no matter what
Stacey Simms 19:52
got it. I’m curious to know the cartridge that we’ve been talking about that isn’t available in the United States yet. Are there other applications For Lilly for that, I mean, that 1.6 unit cartridge? Is that something that could then be used in pens? Are there other uses for it? Or will you be making it just for this pump?
Mike Mason 20:09
I mean, initially it will be used for this pump or any other device that uses 1.6 volt cartridge, you will evaluate every time you put a new form factor of insulin out there, we’ll look and see if there’s other opportunities that better meets the needs of people living with type one and type two diabetes. So we’ll see no immediate plans at this time.
Stacey Simms 20:28
Okay, are there other devices that use it currently, I’m not familiar, not currently.
Mike Mason 20:32
But it’s no reason why someone couldn’t produce a third party, you know, we usable 1.7 card. That is
Stacey Simms 20:42
it’s interesting. You mentioned people with type two quite a bit in this conversation. And I know in my conversations with manufacturers with tech companies, more and more people with type two are using insulin pumps and are using devices like Dexcom. And you In fact, I’m really trying to talk about more people who use insulin rather than the specific types. We talk about devices like this, which honestly, it’s kind of hard for me after all these years. Can you talk a little bit about the appeal to that market? How do they use this kind of pump? In other words, most people I know with type two who need insulin, don’t bolus for every meal, they don’t necessarily use the same amount of insulin as type with people with type one. I’m curious if there’s any information you could share on that market?
Mike Mason 21:21
Yeah, I think what we see is, first of all the needs while the disease is different, the needs of someone to control their blood sugar, both for postprandial as well as for basil is still there, especially for those who are later stages other type two diabetes. And so we feel that no matter who someone is, if they’re on insulin, the big thing they want is to kind of stop thinking as much about taking insulin three or four times a day, you know, that’s something that weighs on a lot of people mind. And we think it’s important to be able to reduce that burden, but also improve care. And that’s what we think, integrated insulin management system can do that’s wrapped around a pump, whether that’s for type one, or type two. Now, your question around, you know, what’s different about type two diabetes, the big difference is the amount of insulin that they take on a daily basis. And because of that, I think the reservoir size and the ability to change that independent of the infusion set is an important feature of this pop and one that we think both type one and type two, but in particular type two beddings can really,
Stacey Simms 22:33
you know, it’s interesting, when I spoke to the folks at Tandem recently, they brought up their control IQ software for people with type two, and how it’s really helped. Because most of the time, it’s just that people with type two aren’t bolusing for their meals, or for correction dosing. And so being able to have that automatically has really helped. It’s something that I mean, just conversationally, it was something that I really hadn’t thought of, with an automated system like that. It’s interesting. Yeah, it’s
Mike Mason 22:56
interesting, when we speak a lot with people using insulin, the needs on a daily basis aren’t that different, and the thought process and how they manage that, you know, isn’t that different, but you’re right, you know, and unfortunately, taking insulin is very complex, and it changes on a daily basis, as you know, well, and that’s what we hope, we hope we can alleviate some of that burden that people have of controlling their blood sugar and their and their diabetes. In the
Stacey Simms 23:24
United States. You know, anytime a new product comes to market, in addition to submitting to the FDA, you have got to work with the insurers to get these things covered. And I’m curious if your conversations about getting the med pump insured, also factor around making sure that anyone who ensures it can make sure going back to what we asked about at the beginning. We’ll also cover Lilly insulin as a some kind of package. When I spoke to the CEO of episode med, he had kind of implied and this was speculative, and he admitted that, but he was kind of hoping I guess is the way to say it, that it would be more affordable in the United States because it could be packaged up with healthcare insurers. Any thoughts on that?
Mike Mason 24:05
Yeah, I mean, I mean, first of all, we’ll make sure that there’s obviously insulin supply for for the pump. And so we’ll make sure that that comes hand in hand so that someone doesn’t have a pump that they can’t use their insulin on. So what will definitely solve that problem, as we go to the marketplace, I think, you know, we haven’t had any specific discussions with payers on this particular product just yet. But what we’ve had, generally, in this area is you know, payers are frustrated with their ability to help their members get good control on insulin. And they believe that that better control on insulin can lead to better overall healthcare cost. If you look at the total cost of the therapeutic and devices as well as all the cost of office visits and the very costly, you know, company Patients have diabetes. And so they’re excited to not only provide better care of the hope of better care, but also the hope of reduced total medical costs.
Stacey Simms 25:10
As we start to wrap up here, just a couple more questions. I got notification, we saw some ads on social media about this is separate from the pump about renewing any coupons for the new year. Can you speak to that a little bit? While I’ve got you here, you know, for 2021, the lily coupons that are out there? How do people do that?
Mike Mason 25:29
Yeah, all they need to do is call our Lilly diabetes Solution Center. If anyone has trouble paid for a Lilly insulin, you can call up early diabetes solutions center. It’s staffed with people who are healthcare professionals who will understand the needs and be able to get your solution on the phone or to email that to you with without any paperwork to fill out or anything like that. And so if they do need if one of the things they need is that to get an updated coupon, they can just literally call them and we also are putting more and more options on the website. And we can get you more information on that. Stacey.
Stacey Simms 26:06
Yeah, that’d be great. If you could send me the links. And I’ll I don’t know, Mike, if you know, but I wound up using that coupon in the fall. Oh, yeah, as I said, My insurer switched us we switched in September to a new insurer. And they wanted us to switch to Nova log, which we hadn’t used in many years. And I’ll be honest, is a little bit of an experiment, I decided to try it. For whatever reason, it wasn’t that easy. It took me a couple of weeks that I needed. prior authorization my pharmacist helped out it was we went back and forth quite a bit. But we did get it done. And I’m back to paying about $35 a month for Benny’s insulin for my son’s insulin, which was great. But it kind of brought me back to the conversation I had on a conference call with Andy Viacari Last March, I want to say when you know, COVID had first hit and we were all really concerned about and unfortunately, it would bore out with employment in the economy. And the question I asked him at the time was just why not do away with all of these coupons. And because it really while it was difficult, I was able to use it would not have been able to get the Lilly insulin without it with my new insurance. So it did work. But I asked him at the time, I’ll ask you now, why not just lower the price across the board to $35? And make it easy for everybody?
Mike Mason 27:19
Yeah, I mean, for us, it’s a complex healthcare system out there. And we lower lowest price which we have was Insulin lispro that’s one of the options that we’ve had, we dropped our list price by 50%. And, you know, we think that the sweetest solutions that we have, you know, with lowering our list price with listen into the lice pro as well as all the options that we have that are very targeted at the gaps in a system, which is the uninsured people, high deductible plans. And Part D, that we can create the best possible out of pocket experience, no one should have to pay more than $35 for literally insulin 43% of people who usually insulin doesn’t pay anything for based on the health insurance. So, you know, we’ve looked at the problem. And we believe that this is the best solution we have out there.
Stacey Simms 28:07
I mean, I hear you, I get it, it’s very complicated. You’re not operating in a vacuum. But you’ve said several times that you want to help people get better control, the insurers want to get people in better control. One of the reasons people aren’t in great control is because it’s really expensive, even though, you know, if you have insurance, you’re paying for it, you’re paying for the high deductibles. I don’t need to tell you we’ve had these conversations many times before. But I got to believe that this is not a sustainable system. And you know, I don’t really have a question there for you, Mike. But I really hope that next year, we’re not having the same conversation. And I know you don’t want to have it either. So you know, I’m not not because you don’t want to answer the questions, but because I I imagine that you know, that even if the price was lowered to $35, that Lilly would be fine. In business.
Mike Mason 28:51
I mean, first of all, if anyone has any concerns with, you know, 40 million insulin, call our Lilly diabetes solutions center, you know, with the most recent Part D demo project that the CMS introduced in January this year, no one whether you’re in Part D, or commercial or uninsured and have to pay more than $35 for the insulin. You’re right. I don’t think the healthcare system right now is sustainable, whether it be for diabetes or other chronic diseases, we shouldn’t put the medications that are designed to improve quality of life and to reduce overall total healthcare costs. We shouldn’t have those at a high price that people can afford. And so I hear you know, that we are advocating strongly and working with our other healthcare system partners, whether that be you know, pbms and insurance companies as well as employers and the government on this topic, and it is a very important topic. And I hope, you know, as the Biden administration comes in, that we can have very good conversations and make progress.
Stacey Simms 30:00
Mike, thank you so much for spending so much time with me. I know I kept you over a few minutes and I appreciate you you’re hanging on and answering those questions. Thanks for being here.
Mike Mason 30:07
Thanks, Stacey appreciate it. appreciate everything you do for people living with diabetes.
Unknown Speaker 30:16
You’re listening to Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms.
Stacey Simms 30:21
More information about Lily and Ypsomed their partnership at Diabetes connections.com. The episode homepage, of course, has a transcript and more information, lots of links. But this is a story that we will of course, be watching over the next two years until this pump comes to market who knows what it will really come to market as things change along the way. But I’m fascinated by the proprietary nature as you can tell, because I’ll tell you our Insulin story and in just a couple of minutes, you know, if you’re using one type, your insurance company can switch you to a different type, it can be very difficult.
So we’ll see another point I just wanted to mention, I didn’t bring this up during the interview. But when Mike talked about the uniqueness of being able to change the cartridge, independent of the inset, there is something unique there about the YpsoPump, and I’ll talk about that in a second. But it’s not exactly as he explained it, you can do that with any tube pump with the Medtronic that are out there right now with the Tandem t slim any tube pump the way we have done it and we have always done it since using atomists. Gosh, almost 14 years ago. Now, when the cartridge runs out of insulin, we change the cartridge. When the inset hits three days, we change the inset and we don’t do them together. Not everybody does it that way. Many, many people change them together, they have worked out exactly how much insulin they need, or they just feel more comfortable doing it together. Whatever is your pleasure. But the thing about the episode med pump that is different. My understanding is that when you do that you do not waste the insulin that is in the pump tubing, there is a different way there is something about it. That means you do don’t have to push through and prime all of that insulin because I know what the Tandem you do waste insulin because of all the priming. So I just wanted to kind of clear that up and address that. As you listen. I know many of you were thinking that’s not unique, but that’s what he’s talking about.
I have also reached out to DEKA, that is the company that was originally partnering with Lilly, we mentioned that the interview to have a new pump and pen system in the US is very different looking pump, it was cylindrical that was I don’t know if that’s the right way to say it like a disk, it looked almost like a tiny tin, you know when that’s coming to mind is like a tobacco chew tin. Or maybe maybe mints is a better way to put it like almost smaller than your palm, but small, thin and circular. And that was the pump that they were working on really interesting. So I’ve reached out to DEKA to see if they’re going to continue that work. And DEKA, just as an aside is the company from Dean Kaman D. k. Dean came in. He is the person who invented the insulin pump years and years ago, very first one and he’s invented a bunch of things, including the Segway. So I’ll link up stuff about him to very interesting, I’d love to have him on the show. But that’s neither here nor there about Lilly.
I do know that many of you get frustrated when we talk to them, because you want me to just talk about insulin pricing. As you can tell, you know, Mike says what he’s going to say. And I will continue to ask about it. We’ll continue to talk about it and send me your questions. I’ll see whatever I can do our insulin story coming up in just a moment. But first Diabetes Connections is brought to you by Dexcom. And it really is hard to think of something that changed our diabetes management as much as Dexcom share and follow. It is amazing to me that it helps us talk less about diabetes. And that is really one of the wonderful things about share and follow as a caregiver, parent, spouse, you know, whatever, you can help the person with diabetes manage in the way that works for your individual situation. It’s about communication, and finding out how they want to share the information. Even your kids this is a decision that you can make together and talking it out really, really helps internet connectivity is required to access Dexcom follow separate follow app required. Learn more at Diabetes connections.com and click on the Dexcom logo.
In our innovation segment this week, I’m going to get to our Insulin story. But I also want to mention that there’s new guidelines for the A1C when it comes to kids. This was kind of quiet. I was surprised it didn’t get a lot of attention. I posted it on social and it was kind of met with a big shrug. The American Diabetes Association has lowered the target A1C guidelines for children with Type One Diabetes. I will read from the summary here. The goal in recommending stricter glucose control was to ensure children with type one have better immediate and long term health outcomes with fewer health complications and reduced mortality rate. The number has gone from 7.5% for children to less than 7%. And I think as you listen you know, the podcast audience, frankly is extremely well educated you guys are up so much stuff. And many of you are already striving for less than seven, you’re striving for less than six. We are not striving for less than six. But I think that this is something that many of you are saying, Well, of course, but I gotta tell you, I’m a little disappointed in the way they released this.
They talk about why they say things like these stringent measures are not always practiced by caregivers of 20 patients or diabetes providers due to concerns and fear, it may cause sudden or dramatic drops in sugar levels. And promise, I’m not gonna read the whole report, but they don’t talk about better education. They don’t talk about access to CGM, to insulin pumps to integrated systems. There’s no wording here in the reports about cost, or making sure you have an a pediatric endo, who will give you these things and educate you. I got really annoyed, frankly, reading this, and we’ll revisit this, I’ll probably reach out to some of the endos who worked on it, I hope to and talk about Yeah, guidelines are great goals are great. But how are you really going to get us there? Because we all know that the A1C needs to be lower right? I am hoping that some of you who have kids with an eight or higher A1C are nodding and going, Yeah, well, what about help for me? How are we supposed to do this alone? I just don’t think it’s enough to say here’s the number. I think they need to give much more help and support. Maybe that’s a pipe dream. I know, most pediatric endocrinologists are great people who really want to help. And you know, they see us for this teeny tiny amount of time. But let’s follow this one along because it’s just it’s, it’s just so frustrating to know that we have a place we want to be, but how do we get there?
And you know, one of the reasons we get there, and Mike said this in our interview is, you know, we need to make sure people have better access to insulin, so they can live better with diabetes. Well, sure. We went through this recently in my family and I will not go through this beat by beat I did like 10 or 15 minutes on this as a Facebook Live and told the story about a when we were switched, our insurance company switched us from humalog to Novalog, I told the whole story very lengthy double not do that here. I’ll tell it in a shorter way. If you want to see the whole story, I’ll link it up. But I realized I never told the rest of the story here on the actual podcast.
So here we go. In the fall, in early September of 2020, we had a change in our insurance, a change of employment meant we were now buying our own insurance. And we actually had a great experience. We did this several years ago and had a disastrous experience. It was so expensive, and nothing was covered. I was really excited that this time around, we found something great. We used an insurance broker. And I would highly recommend that maybe we’ll do a show on that I’m making all sorts of notes on future shows. But somebody helped us he didn’t know a lot about diabetes, but he knew what we needed. So that was great. And my husband lives with type two as well, as you likely know. But this new insurance company did not have human blog as the one they wanted us to get. It was no vlog. And I posted the pricing on social media. It was like, you know, $35 a month for Nova log, and 13 $100 a month for human log. So it was quote covered, but you know, at a different rate. And we were going to go ahead and do that Benny had used Nova log for I want to say the first seven years of his diagnosis, and then our insurance switched us. But he’s been doing really well. Everything’s chugging along, and I thought, Gosh, I really don’t want to switch him.
And I was kind of at sixes and sevens not really knowing what to do. And I was talking to my parents about this. And my dad said, I heard on your podcast that if you have commercial insurance, you can get any insulin with a manufacturer’s coupon for $35 a month. And I thought Dad, you’re the best. Thank you for listening to my podcast. And of course you are correct. And then that week, I spoke with beyond type one about their new website, get insulin.org. So I went on, get insulin.org and filled in all the information and a coupon popped up from Lilly. I printed it out and it said go right to the pharmacy and get your insulin. And I know how these things work. So I didn’t go to the pharmacy, I called the pharmacy and said Is this legit, and they went, you know, tickety tickety tick and the computer. Sorry, Stacey, this isn’t going to work for you. And I know the pharmacist there very well. We’ve been so fortunate. I’ve known him for all of Benny’s diagnosis. I want to say all 14 years, it’s been the same guy. So we really went back and forth and tried to figure out what was going on. It was a quirk in the way our insurance wanted to build it.
So I called Lily. They said no, it should be fine. Here’s the codes to give the pharmacist everything should be fine. They called the pharmacist he said No, those codes are not going to work. And they didn’t what he told me to do. And this is what worked. Our endocrinologist had to call it a brand new prescription. We were going off the old one that we’d been using, you know for the whole year many years. So he had to call it a new prescription. He had to call in a prior authorization. And then after that when they reran the coupon, it worked just fine. Everybody’s different. The pharmacist and the folks that Lily told me that every insurance, every state, sometimes the pharmacies run these different ways. So if you run into a brick wall, definitely keep pushing. And I’m telling you as a listener of this podcast, if you do run into a brick wall Lily and their coupon, email me Stacey at Diabetes connections.com. Let’s make sure you’re talking to the right people, because it took me a while to find the people that really dig down and do this at Lilly. That’s their job. And how ridiculous is this that this is somebody’s job to figure out How to get around all these coupons and use them in the ways that they’re meant to be used, rather than just dropping the list price. I mean, it makes me crazy to talk about, I’m already going too long. Bottom line is we got the coupon to work.
And then it worked a second time. I called my pharmacist the other day, because it was time to renew and I said, Hey, you know, I’ve heard that you have to renew in the new year, is it going to work? And he said, it’s going through just fine. And then he laughed. He’s like, let’s run it without the coupon. I said, Why? Why? He was just curious. He’s like, yep, it’s still, you know, 13 $100 a month without the coupon. I said, Well, don’t put it in without the coupon. Don’t even bother. So that’s the story. It leads me back to what happened if I was using the app, so pump with Benny. And then in September, my new insurance company said, No, you have to use no dialogue. And I didn’t know, I didn’t have a podcast. I didn’t know I could do all that. I didn’t know I could get the coupon or what if the coupon goes away, there’s no guarantee it’s going to be there. And then I’m stuck with a pump that I can’t use the insulin that my insurance company makes me use. So obviously, we don’t know. That’s a lot of speculation. But those are the concerns I have. Have you used one of these coupons? How about the nofo coupon what’s working for you guys? I’ll start a thread in the Facebook group. But you can always you know, ping me and let me know what’s up with you. Or if you need help that way. It’s just ridiculous. Maybe next week, instead of innovations. I’ll bring back Tell me something good. We need the good news stories, too.
As I mentioned last week, we are about to start classic episodes. The first one will be this Thursday. And that is an episode I taped almost five years ago with Ernie Prado. He is a rocket scientist for real at NASA. Great guy. It was so much fun to talk to him. He has a terrific story. What I love about his story is it’s not the perfect diabetic. He really struggled. And he talks about why and how he kind of got out of that. I think it’s one that as a parent of a child with type one. I love those kinds of stories because I don’t expect perfection in my kid. And I really like to hear about other people who all due respect, Ernie, who really messed it up and are okay, are doing fine now. So that’s on Thursday.
You don’t have to listen to it on Thursday. Obviously, whenever you have time, we’re going to be putting out a lot more episodes. So when you have time, listen to podcasts. We’ll be here for you. thank you as always to my editor John Bukenas from audio editing solutions. Thank you so much for listening. I’m Stacey Simms. Until next time, be kind to yourself.
Diabetes Connections is a production of Stacey Simms Media. All rights reserved. All wrongs avenged