Aaron Kowalski, PhD: Creating a Cycle of Improvement for Type 1 Diabetes

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100 years after the discovery of insulin, the T1D Index may provide a foundational understanding of what steps need to be taken to both improve lives and reduce the incidence of T1D.

In a continuation of HCPLive's conversation with Aaron Kowalski, PhD, CEO of JDRF on the introduction of the Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) Index, we discuss the actionable items surrounding the conversation on accessbility to care.

Back in August of this year, the Inflation Reduction Act in the United States capped the prince of insulin at $35 for a month's supply for Medicare recipients. Kowalski and his organization advocated for the position with the diabetes caucus in Congress.

However, he admitted his disappointment that the same protection did not extend to the private market and that in fact, it was egregious that members of Congress voted against this expansion. Kowalski added that they are cotniuing to push towards the private insurance market so "that people don't have to make the decision between paying rents and insulin."

Kowalski further laid out a moving time line for US legislation to build upon the success off the Inflation reduction Act and generic insulins to make it to market, and what may need to be done regarding the current global state of affairs.

"We have a signficant amount of work to do, because you have a number of countries out there who struggle with their populations getting acess to insulin and care," he said.

Kowalski added that the T1D Index has provided a trustworthy numerator and denominator to better understand how many people are out there with T1D. Alongside the knowledge of the incidence, however, comes the need for greater change.

"There's the change that's needed where we are not accepting that today is good enough," Kowalski said. "And it's not even close to good enough."

The first step would be increased access to insulin and care, because that's the contiuum needed for these patients to live, he said. Improvements in acess to glucose monitoring can make a difference for these patients.

An effort to create policies that can bend the curve may save bad days for patients for T1D and even their lives. Kowalski added that ultimately, the goal is to walk away for the disease.

"I believe if you can unite a global army of people with T1D, given the global problem that we're facing, we will get to cures faster," he said. "And I think that's the really interesting part of this puzzle is, can you create a virtuous cycle of driving improved care all the way through curative approaches, and make that all happen faster?"