Revamping the Business of Diabetes

Ask a diabetic who is trying to find help what they think of the "trickle-down effect.” Most likely they will tell you the only such effect they know of is the sweat trickling down their brow as they worry about how to buy their medical supplies.

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Ask a diabetic who is trying to find help what they think of the "trickle-down effect.” Most likely they will tell you the only such effect they know of is the sweat trickling down their brow as they worry about how to buy their medical supplies.

And by this time next year, that one diabetic will have thousands more brothers and sisters with the same worries. The numbers are growing at a phenomenal rate. The prevention message is not getting out there in a powerful, effective manner. 

As an advocate for diabetics, I have studied what seems right and wrong in the big business of "helping” the sick. I have been an outspoken critic of big pharmaceuticals. Of course, they are in the business of making a profit. They use high-end marketing and PR firms to spread the word about their products. How about doing a better job of spreading the word of disease prevention? I have ideas I would love to share with them. But, unless you have an "in" or a contact at one of these firms, you don't stand a chance of being heard.

An assistant's assistant may give you an email address to write to. You stand about as big a chance of getting a positive response as you do of winning the lottery. If you are lucky enough to actually get an answer, it will most likely be a form letter advising you that they receive thousands of emails, and though they wish they could help, they simply cannot. 

Yes, some of the profits the big guys rake in will go to support good causes, but not nearly enough. Millions of people are living with diabetes. Hundreds of thousands are dying from it. And what about the undiagnosed who walk around with an enemy inside them that they are not aware of? The marketing and PR firms need to sell this message the way they sell a new cereal or a new car. Grab people's attention. Make them feel the urgent need for action.

How is this done? The bottom line is the bottom line – they have to spend some dollars. Those of us who have projects ready to go but who are in need of some backing are not only seeing red, we are working in the red! Like racehorses at the gate, we are pawing at the ground, ready to run. We need someone to open that gate and let us go.

Recently, I had the great pleasure of meeting with an awesome senior support group in The Villages in Central Florida. These energetic elders have managed to organize and run this group with no money and little outside help. The result is the biggest diabetic support group in the state. They have contacted the big guys to try to obtain donations of supplies. No luck! But it doesn't slow them down. They are there for each other and they strive each day to spread the word about diabetes prevention. They have a wealth of ideas but, without funding, no way to fully implement them. 

We have to revamp the way the message of diabetes prevention is being spread. We have to revamp the business of diabetes. In the last year, the number of those impacted by this disease has grown by about 60 million. That number is higher than the population of Italy! I say, let a celebrity market diabetes and see how many people sit up and pay attention. The people at the top of the pharmaceutical companies and the marketing and PR firms need to realize they are not immune to this disease. Odds are it will touch them or those they love. They need to help fund more projects to get the word out and get the job done.

Diabetes is raging out of control. This trickle-down affect does not work for me and the over-366 million others with diabetes. 

Blog written by Charles Mattocks
Charles Mattocks, aka The Poor Chef, has made a name for himself as the author of Eat Cheap but Eat Well. His meals are healthy,...