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Lilly puts diabetes management under the spotlight

Will fund major international study to explore why patients sometimes fail to reach their blood sugar targets

Lilly has committed to funding a major international study to explore why people with type 2 diabetes sometimes fail to reach their blood sugar targets.

The observational study will enrol 4,500 people with type 2 diabetes and will gather data on insulin use, interactions between people with the disease and those caring for them, and a host of other behavioural and situational factors that could affect treatment compliance.

The primary goal of the exercise is to try to understand why patients resist stepping up the intensity of their insulin therapy if they fail to meet blood haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) goals, which serve as a measure of glucose control over time.

Called MOSA1c, the study will be conducted with the help of the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in the US and enrol patients from 16 countries around the world. Results should be available in the middle of 2012.

"Fewer than half of people with diabetes reach their target goals for glycaemic control, putting them at risk for complications like blindness, amputation, heart disease and kidney failure," said William Shrank, the lead investigator in the study.

"The goal of this study is to determine the barriers that prevent patients from optimising their insulin treatment, whether that is lack of communication, health-system hurdles or emotional responses."

Along with Novo Nordisk and Sanofi, Lilly is one of the leading producers of insulin therapies, serving a market which has quadrupled in the last decade to $15.4bn, according to IMS Health figures. The growth has been driven by an explosion in diabetes cases accompanying rising levels of obesity and inactivity around the world.

Understanding how to encourage compliance with progressive insulin therapy could not only drive sales of insulin products, but also help patients avoid many of the long-term consequences of diabetes that deeply impact patients and are a major drain on healthcare resources.

Recent figures from Diabetes UK suggest that drugs to treat the disease account for more than 8 per cent of the UK drugs bill and 10 per cent of the overall NHS spend every year.

MOSA1c will try to identify barriers to adherence to insulin therapy, including patient and physician characteristics, treatment regimen and cost, as well as geographic and cultural factors.

It will also investigate the reasons given by patients and doctors when insulin treatment changes and compare the rates of low blood sugar episodes among those on initial insulin regimens and elevated doses.

2nd December 2011

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