French Big Pharma Sanofi is tapping a celebrity, a sportswoman and a journalist to share their stories of Type 1 diabetes as they ask for a nationwide pledge for people to get screened for the condition.
The so-called "1 Pledge" movement is designed to drive early screening for Type 1 diabetes in the U.S., a condition that is genetic and can start in early childhood. It is differentiated from Type 2 diabetes, which typically occurs in adulthood and is often related to obesity.
The idea is to have Type 1 patients tell their stories to encourage more screening. To help boost awareness of the program, Sanofi has tapped singer and actor Usher, Robin Arzón, vice president of fitness programming and head instructor at Peloton as well as an ultramarathoner, and journalist Adam Schefter.
Each have their own personal stories associated with the disease. Usher’s child was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 6 while Arzón has Type 1 diabetes herself and Schefter’s wife Sharri Maio lives with the condition.
“Since the day my child was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, the condition is something I never stop thinking about,” Usher said in a statement.
“Had we detected my child’s type 1 diabetes before their diagnosis it could have given us valuable time to prepare. My child’s bravery inspires me every day and my hope in partnering with Sanofi is to inspire other families in this important work. Do not wait until you see symptoms. Pledge to screen for type 1 diabetes today so you can prepare for what could come.”
Around 1.4 million Americans have Type 1 diabetes, and Sanofi said in a release that many families with children who have the condition believe that knowing about it as early as possible “allows time for important education, preparation and coaching.”
Sanofi has for decades marketed products for Type 2 diabetes but more recently has become involved in Type 1 diabetes through its buyout of Provention Bio, nabbing a long-awaited FDA approval a year ago for a first-of-its-kind Type 1 diabetes drug known as Tzield.
This immunotherapy delays the progression of Type 1 diabetes and is available to patients aged 8 and older who are in stage two of the disorder.
The awareness and educational pledge campaign is not branded and is not plugging Tzield or any other Sanofi product, but more screening often finds more patients who can use drugs for the condition, therefore upping prescriptions.
“For many families, a Type 1 diabetes diagnosis is sudden and life-changing,” Olivier Bogillot, Sanofi's head of U.S. general medicines, said in the release.
“With The 1 Pledge campaign, our aim is to raise awareness that type 1 diabetes can be detected early and that screening is available and may help to better prepare families to manage the disease. Sanofi remains committed to help people living with diabetes and to bring innovation to this community.”
People can pledge to get screened for Type 1 diabetes today at a new website, called The1Pledge.com, and follow on social media using #ScreenforType1.
This campaign continues a growing trend from pharmas to encourage screenings for certain conditions via a pledge, often through an online site that asks for contact details.
Just this week, a similar campaign was launched by Roche’s Genentech and the American Diabetes Association, which asked patients with diabetes to pledge to have regular checkups for eye disorders associated with their disease.