Type 1 Diabetes Patients are a Cornered Market
by Katherine Millsap
Some of the sliest ways that Planned Obsolescence is integrated into our society is through the guise of innovation in Healthcare and Medical Devices. For example, Type 1 Diabetes medicines and devices are routinely replaced with upgrades or new product lines that demonstrate very little difference from the previous generation. In an article Dr. Roy Pose is quoted as saying “That captive audience of Type 1 diabetics has spawned lines of high-priced gadgets and disposable accouterments, borrowing business models from technology companies like Apple: Each pump and monitor requires the separate purchase of an array of items that are often brand and model specific.” Each new model of Type 1 Diabetes monitoring devices that come out have new disposable parts that need to be purchased regularly.
The medical device companies use the same disguise that the pharmaceutical industry use for their exorbitant prices and long-lasting patents- that the high cost provides them the financial means to continue to innovate. Making products that are disposable and designed to only work with one generation of product lines is Planned Obsolescence. However, these companies use the guise of innovation when marketing accounts for over twice the spending as new drug development and innovation.
Unlike the clothing or technology industries, patients utilizing products that practice Planned Obsolescence have much less control over their purchasing decisions. They purchase what their insurance will pay the most for, what their doctors suggest, or what they’ve seen in one of the many direct-to-consumer advertisements they’ve see on T.V.
So the real question is: If we want to fight against Planned Obsolescence, how do we do that when we have to purchase an item for our health and life?