Word to the Wise

Editor's note: Neither Diabetes Health nor this column intends to recommend any of the investments mentioned here or to offer advice on how to invest your money.

Invest in Diabetes

| Apr 1, 2003

We hear the statistics so often that we take them for granted.

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), nearly 17 million people in the United States now have diabetes. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson estimates that there are nearly an equal number of people with pre-diabetes. A day doesn't go by without some television show or magazine article telling us how obese the American people are and tying obesity to the growing epidemic of type 2 diabetes.

Sometimes, however, we become so focused on the disease of diabetes that we forget about the business of diabetes.

And diabetes isn't just a business. It's a big and growing business. Try taking a look at a different set of numbers.

Consider that, by most industry estimates, nearly 4 million people test their blood-glucose levels on a frequent basis (that is, two or more times each day). This estimate is below the level of testing recommended by the ADA, but it is a figure commonly used by companies in the glucose meter business. It means that, on average, people with diabetes consume more than 8 million test strips each day and more than 3 billion test strips each year.

Ever wonder why meters are regularly given away? The real money is from the continual sales of test strips. Test strips are "the goose that lays the golden egg," in terms of profit for the meter companies.

Although the sale of test strips is the largest segment of the business of diabetes, generating worldwide sales in excess of $4 billion, it is not the only billion-dollar segment. Take a look throughout this magazine. Besides the advertisements for meters, you'll also see ads for oral medications, insulin delivery systems, needles, sugar-free foods, and so on. With the number of people with diabetes expected to double by the year 2025, the companies involved in the business of diabetes stand to make tremendous profits.

So why not invest in these companies?

Think about this for a moment: Instead of looking at diabetes only as a disease, try looking at it as an investment opportunity. An opportunity you actually know something about.

So many people, when they think of investing for their future, broadly define their choices in areas such as technology or healthcare. All too often, they end up investing in companies they really know very little about. Many of us use a personal computer, for example, but are we qualified to understand all the details of the computer business?

Diabetes is something we live with each day of our lives—we know the details and the practical realities and the everyday problems. We use many of the products or medications that are involved in treating the disease. More than likely, we know others who also have diabetes, and we've discussed it with them. Why not take this body of knowledge and apply it to our portfolios?

No one would ever recommend making diabetes the only consideration when selecting investments, but why not explore an area in which you're interested and knowledgeable?

Take, for example, those people who use an insulin pump. With Medtronic MiniMed (NYSE:MDT) controlling the majority share of the pump market, wouldn't it be nice to own a piece of the company?

What about those of you who use a LifeScan glucose meter? LifeScan is a division of Johnson and Johnson (NYSE:JNJ). Or what about syringes, needles and lancets made by Becton, Dickinson (NYSE:BD)? Or insulins made by Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY), Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO) and Aventis (NYSE:AVE)?

These are just a few of the companies actively involved in the business of diabetes. Hundreds more are involved in developing everything from noninvasive glucose meters to inhaled insulin.

Imagine how valuable a company would be if it came up with an accurate, easy-to-use, noninvasive glucose monitor.

Think that insulin available in pill form might be successful?

With the epidemic growth rate of diabetes, new companies are entering the field each day, many of whom are publicly traded.

As is true for any investment, just being in the business of diabetes does not guarantee a company's success. For every Johnson and Johnson, there's an Amira Medical (the failed alternate-site meter company that is no longer in business). Before investing in any company, it's important to get as much information as possible, to allow you to make an informed investment decision.

But at least when you're researching a diabetes company, you will be able to add just a little more insight—which might just give you an edge.

Click Here To View Or Post Comments

Categories: Diabetes, Diabetes, Food, Insulin, Insulin Pumps, Novo Nordisk, Syringes, Type 2 Issues

Take the Diabetes Health Pump Survey
See What's Inside
Read this FREE issue now
For healthcare professionals only
  • 12th Annual Product Reference Guide
  • Insulin Syringe Chart
  • Insulin Pen Needles Chart
  • Fast-Acting Glucose
  • Sharps Disposal
  • Blood Glucose Meters Chart
  • Insulin Pumps Chart
See the entire table of contents here!

You can view the current or previous issues of Diabetes Health online, in their entirety, anytime you want.
Click Here To View

See if you qualify for our free healthcare professional magazines. Click here to start your application for Pre-Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Pharmacist and Diabetes Health Professional.

Learn More About the Professional Subscription

Free Diabetes Health e-Newsletter

Top Rated
Print | Email | Share | Comments (0)

You May Also Be Interested In...


Add your comments about this article below. You can add comments as a registered user or anonymously. If you choose to post anonymously your comments will be sent to our moderator for approval before they appear on this page. If you choose to post as a registered user your comments will appear instantly.

When voicing your views via the comment feature, please respect the Diabetes Health community by refraining from comments that could be considered offensive to other people. Diabetes Health reserves the right to remove comments when necessary to maintain the cordial voice of the diabetes community.

For your privacy and protection, we ask that you do not include personal details such as address or telephone number in any comments posted.

Don't have your Diabetes Health Username? Register now and add your comments to all our content.

Have Your Say...

Username: Password:
©1991-2015 Diabetes Health | Home | Privacy | Press | Advertising | Help | Contact Us | Donate | Sitemap

Diabetes Health Medical Disclaimer

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. Opinions expressed here are the opinions of writers, contributors, and commentators, and are not necessarily those of Diabetes Health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website.