June 18, 2014

Insulin Analogs, Worth the Cost?

This is another researcher looking for publicity and her 15 minutes of fame. Kasia J. Lipska, MD, an endocrinologist from the Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, will be presenting this research as a poster at the meeting of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) 2014 Scientific Sessions in San Francisco.

Dr. Lipska and colleagues conducted a retrospective analysis of figures from the Optum Labs Data Warehouse, an administrative claims database of privately insured enrollees from throughout the United States. Adults aged 18 years or older with type 2 diabetes and at least 2 years of continuous plan enrollment between January 2000 and September 2010 were included. There were 123,486 enrollees who filled at least 1 prescription for insulin, with the proportion doing so rising from 9.7% in 2000 to 15.1% in 2010.”

Dr. Lipska cautioned these findings from private health insurance records may not reflect publicly insured populations. For example, analog-insulin use is lower in the Veterans' Administration system, which has a national formulary scheme.”

The data also couldn't capture less severe hypoglycemia that did not result in an emergency-department visit or hospital admission, she noted.”

"We are absolutely not suggesting that people stop using insulin analogs. But we hope these findings provoke a discussion about the value of healthcare for the overall population of type 2 diabetes patients."

I am very happy that there were comments and most agreed with my feelings. This is not a study, but an observational analysis of very diverse data and many missing pieces of information. And with funds from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the National Institutes of Health, I suspect some false motives in the method of research.

Is the CMS trying to find ways to deny people on Medicare and Medicaid the use of certain insulins? I suspect this!  I just hope I am wrong.

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