Insulin price gouging in the US has caused an insulin rationing crisis in our country. I believe that fighting for access to affordable insulin should be the diabetes community's number one priority. Unfortunately, not all pharmaceutical companies and diabetes non-profit organizations share that belief.
I want to be forthcoming and transparent about any major relationships or contracts I have, or have had, with various organizations. If you feel that any of these relationships may be compromising my ability to speak truthfully and openly about the fight for affordable access to, not only insulin, but health care in general, please reach out to let me hear your concerns. I want to choose my relationships with the intention of maximizing my impact on the diabetes community without compromising my own morals or facing pressure to stay silent on important issues.
TANDEM DIABETES CARE
I am a member of Tandem's Live Life in Full Color Speakers Series. This relationship began in late 2014. I do not receive any t:slim supplies from this relationship, and do not do any paid promotional social media posts. I do get travel covered and receive a speaking fee for appearances at diabetes events and conferences that Tandem sends me to. My official disclaimer statement from Tandem, given at the beginning of any speech I give in collaboration with them, is as follows:
"In this presentation I may pass along suggestions, tips, or information about experiences or approaches to the management of diabetes. However, please note that individual symptoms, situations, circumstances, and results may vary. Please consult your physician or qualified health care provider regarding your condition and appropriate medical treatment. The information provided is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for professional medical advice.
I am compensated by Tandem Diabetes for my participation in this event. However, I have created the content for this presentation and it is based on my personal experiences and observations."
The t:slim was the first pump I was put on after diagnosis, long before my #showmeyourpump campaign or becoming Miss Idaho 2014. I have always felt that taking device money is not comparable to taking insulin manufacturing money, but I have heard some people in the diabetes community disagree. If this relationship is concerning to you, please reach out and let me know your reasoning, and I will take your concerns into consideration. My relationship with Tandem has helped me spread my message at many conferences and thousands of people, whom I wouldn't have been able to reach without Tandem. I have always felt supported by Tandem in the message I aimed to spread, and they have had my back when certain events asked me to alter/censor what I had to say. I do not feel that my relationship with them compromises my mission, but if you feel otherwise, please share your thoughts and concerns with me.
BEYOND TYPE 1
I was very involved with Beyond Type 1 from 2015-2020. I served on the Beyond Type 1 Leadership Council (previously known as the Ambassador Committee) since the organization was founded in 2015. I was a member of Team Bike Beyond in 2017, and in the spring of 2019 served on the selection committee for the Diabetes Scholars program.
I joined forces with Beyond Type 1 with the understanding that they would not ever accept funding from insulin manufacturers, in order to ensure that they could fight freely, openly, and fiercely for insulin access and affordability. This promise was recently broken. I spoke up within the organization as a Leadership Council member about my issues with non-profits accepting big pharma money. My concerns were largely dismissed, which led me to resign from the Leadership Council in August 2020. Read my resignation letter here, and listen to me discuss my decision and this issue in more depth with Craig on the Beta Cell Podcast.
I have never had any official relationship with JDRF and do not receive compensation from JDRF. However, I have spoken at many Type One Nation conferences, JDRF Galas, and JDRF One Walks. While JDRF events give me a wider audience with which to share my story, and am grateful for the friends I have made through JDRF events, I feel that it is important to not ignore their partnerships with insulin manufacturers. I do not believe a non-profit diabetes organization can accept big insulin money without compromising their mission, especially when that mission is to put those same insulin manufacturers out of business by finding a cure for type 1 diabetes. I believe that there are many JDRF staff and volunteers that are incredible people with pure intentions who have dedicated countless hours to the fight for a cure. I feel strongly about speaking out against the people at the top who are making questionable funding decisions because I do not want the hard work of volunteers and lower paid staff to be in vain, and I, like all of us, would like to see a cure someday that allows me to produce my own insulin again.