What comes to mind – let’s say, in three words – when people talk bring up the topic of “life”?
Freedom, family and health. The way I see it, freedom is the most precious commodity. Family, on the other hand, forms the basis for professional and personal success. And good health is a prerequisite for being able to enjoy life in the first place.
Your end users have an especially tough time dealing with the latter. How do you help them?
By making self-treatment a matter of course for them, we improve their quality of life. That applies primarily to diabetics, but also increasingly so for people with other types of diseases. The therapy for all of them should be made just as easy and uncomplicated as brushing your teeth.
How do you achieve that?
We develop products that are not only very easy to use, but also allow no mistakes to be made – plus they should be usable regardless of location and without the help of others. For example, after hospital chemotherapy, many patients are required to inject themselves at home. But because the treatment places a heavy toll on them, they frequently neglect to adhere to the regimen – with the result that they need to be hospitalised again. This shouldn’t be. So if we can simplify and monitor the follow-up procedure, then the efficacy of the therapy will increase markedly.
“Medical technology – even after 50 years of R&D – is still in its infancy, at least when it comes to diabetes.”
How do you address the monitoring aspect?
It takes intelligent products – both in terms of the technology and its actual use. Our injection and infusion systems are easy to understand. That’s why it takes only a short training session instead of an entire day of schooling to come to grips with our insulin pumps. What’s more, several of our products record if, when and how the injections are made. We want to provide that data not just to the users for their own knowledge, but also to their parents and the healthcare system as a whole.
Is it possible to do away entirely with injections?
No, given human physiognomy, that’s not possible. Insulin and many newly developed medications are molecules that are so large they can’t be absorbed in the stomach and therefore simply pass through the gastro-intestinal system without effect.
How has the vision of Ypsomed changed over the years?
Actually, it hasn’t changed. Thirty years ago, my father recognised that the complicated use as well as the imprecision of injections were major hindrances in the successful treatment of diabetes. Insulin pumps simplified the therapy and greatly extended the life expectancy of those affected. Later, injection pens came into being.