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Senate HELP Hearing (12/14/23) - Diabetes in America

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💫 Short Summary

The Senate committee addresses the diabetes epidemic in America, emphasizing the impact of type 1 and type 2 diabetes on millions of Americans. They discuss the correlation between diabetes and obesity, the role of the food industry in promoting unhealthy products, and the need for affordable treatments. Calls are made to combat diabetes and obesity by addressing food industry greed, implementing taxes on unhealthy foods, and improving access to affordable medications. The importance of nutrition, research funding, and government intervention in negotiating drug prices is highlighted, along with advancements in diabetes management and potential future treatments.

✨ Highlights
📊 Transcript
Senate committee discusses the diabetes epidemic in America.
Senator Cassidy focuses on type 2 diabetes affecting 95% of Americans with diabetes.
The cost of treating diabetes totaled $413 billion in the US last year.
90% of individuals with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese.
Childhood obesity rates in America have tripled since the 1970s, according to the CDC.
Increase in Type 2 Diabetes in America
Type 2 diabetes in America is projected to increase by 700% over the next 40 years unless action is taken.
Large corporations promoting unhealthy foods
Food and beverage industry promotes unhealthy, ultra-processed foods to children, leading to higher risks of diabetes and obesity.
Call to combat diabetes and obesity epidemics
There is a call to address the greed of the food and beverage industry and ban junk food ads targeted at children to combat diabetes and obesity epidemics.
High rates of childhood obesity in the US and need for affordable diabetes treatments.
New drugs OIC and Munaro show promise in combating obesity, but are expensive in the US compared to other countries.
Concerns about pharmaceutical industry profiting greatly from these drugs, leading to worries about inflated prices and potential bankruptcies.
Legislation proposed to lower prescription drug costs in the US by 50%, aiming to improve affordability and accessibility of treatments for chronic conditions.
Focus on diabetes prevention, treatment, and management.
Emphasis on the importance of diet and access to healthy foods.
Discussion on the impact of corporate marketing practices on consumers and human nutrition.
Mention of successful programs for diabetes research funding led by colleagues.
Highlighting groundbreaking developments in diabetes management, such as continuous glucose monitors, improving patient adherence and quality of life.
Effects of poor nutrition on diabetes and obesity discussed by Dr. Ashley Gart.
Research shows ultra-processed food can be as addictive as nicotine and alcohol.
Negative consequences of compulsive overeating, obesity, and diabetes highlighted due to American diet shift towards ultra-processed foods.
Studies indicate a 12% higher risk of type 2 diabetes with a 10% increase in ultra-processed food intake.
Parallels drawn between addictive substances and ultra-processed foods in terms of creation and impact on the body.
Ultra-processed foods can activate brain reward systems like addictive substances.
Studies indicate addiction signs in adults and children, contributing to health problems such as type 2 diabetes.
Tobacco and processed food industries share strong ties and marketing strategies.
Scientific research on addiction mechanisms of ultra-processed foods is vital for prevention, particularly in youth, for better public health.
The importance of healthier diets in preventing diabetes and being cost-effective compared to medication.
Factors contributing to unhealthy eating habits, such as the availability of ultra-processed foods, aggressive marketing towards children, and unclear nutrition labels.
The influence of the food industry on science and policy, emphasizing the need for clear and evidence-based nutrition labels on food packaging.
Recommendations for promoting healthier eating habits, including limiting unhealthy food marketing to children, creating healthier school environments, and using economic pressure to encourage healthier food choices.
The impact of taxes on sugary drinks and processed foods on public health.
Taxes could encourage companies to produce healthier options and decrease consumption of unhealthy products.
Revenue generated from these taxes could be used to provide subsidies for fruits and vegetables for low-income families.
Increased funding for nutrition research is essential for improving diets and preventing diseases like obesity and diabetes.
Accessibility to affordable treatment for diabetes is a significant challenge, with many patients rationing insulin due to high costs.
Disparity in pharmaceutical pricing between countries is highlighted.
Direct price negotiations with pharmaceutical companies are important for fair pricing.
Launch prices of drugs should align with their value, development costs, and patient affordability.
Societal factors, not just personal choices, are attributed to the root causes of obesity and diabetes.
Medications alone are limited in addressing epidemics, calling for a more comprehensive approach.
Challenges of managing diabetes as a child.
Constant monitoring, insulin dosing, and potential low blood sugar during activities like soccer games are highlighted.
Importance of support from family, friends, and the community in understanding and assisting individuals with diabetes is emphasized.
Need for a cure to alleviate the daily medical decisions required is expressed, with a focus on advancements in research and therapies towards finding a cure for type 1 diabetes.
Role of organizations like SPD in supporting research and progress towards a cure is acknowledged.
Importance of continued research funding for diabetes.
Special Diabetes Program has advanced research and brought new therapies closer to reality.
Bipartisan support and leadership in the Senate for diabetes initiatives.
Urging for the approval of the Special Diabetes Program Reauthorization Act for further progress in diabetes research.
Recent advancements in diabetes management focus on FDA approval of cell therapy and artificial pancreas systems.
These technologies improve blood sugar control and simplify diabetes management for individuals with type 1 diabetes.
The ADA now recommends diabetes devices for patients immediately upon diagnosis to enhance care.
Long-term research programs and clinical trials, including those exploring sglt Inhibitors, require continued funding for further advancements.
Government support is crucial to prevent a slowdown in progress and ensure affordable insulin for all individuals with diabetes.
Impact of Sugary Drinks on Health
Consuming sugary drinks like Coke increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, especially for young adults.
Food marketing targets kids with products like Coke, leading to high consumption rates.
Warning labels on unhealthy drinks would help parents make better choices.
The food and beverage industry uses tactics similar to the tobacco industry to sell unhealthy products to children.
Rising cost of healthcare system attributed to prescription drugs and the influence of Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs).
PBMs play a significant role in managing prescription drug costs, often providing kickbacks to Medicare and insurance providers.
Despite their profitability, PBMs are a major obstacle in lowering drug costs for consumers.
Proposed legislation seeks to reform PBMs by separating administrative fees from drug prices, potentially saving billions and reducing prices for insulin and generic drugs.
Addressing these issues is crucial in combating the diabetes epidemic and improving access to affordable healthcare.
Challenges in ensuring affordable insulin for patients.
Patients struggle to access lower-priced insulin due to manufacturer coupons and online applications.
The current system makes it difficult for patients to navigate.
Emphasis on addressing the affordability of insulin and other diabetes medications.
Concerns raised about the gap between company promises and patient realities.
Breakthrough research in New Hampshire offers hope for treating type 1 diabetes without insulin injections.
Stem cell therapies have shown success in allowing patients to come off insulin in human trials.
Continued support is needed to advance research towards an immunosuppression-free cure.
Researchers are optimistic about the potential for a cure in the near future.
Access to diabetes medications is a concern due to delays in prescription filling, emphasizing the need for improved supply and affordability.
Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) prioritize drugs with higher list prices, affecting patient access.
Proposal to disconnect PBM reimbursement from list price could be beneficial for patients.
Study shows PBMs can receive rebates of up to 80% of the list price for anti-obesity medications.
Insulin advancements have enhanced usability and effectiveness, but innovation is still necessary.
Access to affordable insulin, including generic options, is vital for individuals with type 1 diabetes.
Importance of Affordable Insulin and Access to Medication.
Rationing insulin in the US leads to negative health outcomes for diabetes patients.
Many individuals struggle to afford their medication, emphasizing the need for better access to affordable insulin.
Real food has positive effects on diabetes management, highlighting the impact of food on physical and mental health.
Initiatives promoting food as medicine are improving health outcomes, with efforts to provide affordable, minimally processed meal packages for mental well-being.
Importance of making nutritious food convenient, accessible, and affordable.
Food as medicine reduces food insecurity, increases fruit and vegetable intake, and lowers A1C levels.
Access to healthy foods before developing obesity or diabetes is crucial.
Traditional food in native communities is effective for managing diabetes.
Challenges of addressing food deserts in rural and urban areas, especially in black and brown communities, are recognized.
Discussion on the broken healthcare system driven by hospitals and insurance companies, focusing on transparency and cost reduction.
Emphasis on preventive measures to address chronic ailments like diabetes and obesity by targeting root causes.
Introduction of the healthcare price transparency act to tackle high costs and promote accessibility to care.
Highlighting the importance of access to better care and medication for improving health outcomes.
Fulfilling the mission of healthcare organizations like JDRF through improved healthcare access and outcomes.
Importance of Legislation for Equitable Access to Recreation and Health.
Creation of a federal office of outdoor recreation to ensure equitable access to recreation in all communities.
Physical activity and healthy eating can delay or prevent type two diabetes.
Community health centers focus on integrated care models emphasizing prevention, nutrition, exercise, and social determinants of health.
Success in helping patients with hypertension and diabetes control these issues despite dealing with complex chronic conditions.
Importance of Community Health Centers in Preventive Care.
Ultra processed foods, such as sugary drinks, are associated with increased rates of dementia.
13% of older adults show signs of addiction to ultra processed foods, impacting both mental and physical health.
National Institute of Diabetes funds vital research in type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Breakthroughs in diabetes treatment, such as insulin pumps and CGMs, have significantly enhanced quality of life for patients.
Importance of researching environmental factors in stopping disease progression, especially in those with genetic risks like family history.
Ongoing studies tracking high-risk children from In Utero to adulthood to pinpoint triggers.
Challenges in identifying environmental factors and the significance of advancing candidates to human clinical trials.
Concerns about insulin affordability and the role of Pharmacy Benefit Managers in selecting pricier options.
Lack of transparency on the reasons for additional costs linked to medications.
Effects of high fructose corn syrup and rapid digestion of processed foods.
Fiber content influences absorption rates, with fructose playing a significant role.
Personal testimony on living with diabetes in a family, discussing challenges and camaraderie.
Congress offering meal flexibilities during the pandemic to help students access nutritious meals.
Several states passing legislation to ensure continued meal access post-pandemic.
Implementation of Universal Free School Meals in Virginia.
School lunches are important for students' health and learning outcomes.
Universal school meals help promote healthier diets and prevent health issues like diabetes.
Debate on whether SNAP benefits should be used to purchase unhealthy foods.
Incentive programs like the double up bucks program encourage the purchase of fruits and vegetables.
Discussion on diabetes-related issues and challenges faced by older adults.
Dr. Kowalski emphasized the importance of managing hypoglycemia in older adults and potential new drugs for reducing kidney and cardiovascular disease.
Emphasis on nutrition for children and a proposed bill to address child hunger.
Highlighted the need for more research in nutrition science, particularly concerning children, as a current knowledge gap.
Importance of Research on Ultra-Processed Foods
Limited research on the biological mechanisms of ultra-processed foods, with only one study conducted by Kevin Hall at the NH.
Need for more studies, especially focusing on children and understanding the effects at a population level.
Obesity is linked to health problems like joint replacements, heart disease, and Alzheimer's, emphasizing the importance of obesity research.
Discussion on the need for more research on type one diabetes and addressing the crisis of childhood obesity through affordable treatments and healthy diets.