Charity-Commercial Enterprise Partnering – The Myth of a Type 1 Diabetes Cure
Charity-Commercial Enterprise Partnering may not be all that is thought to be. A report by the Juvenile Diabetes Cure Alliance titled, Partnering with Commercial Enterprise discusses why they believe that type 1 diabetes charities should NOT partner with commercial enterprises for the purpose of finding a cure.
Some of the major type 1 diabetes charities that they cover engage in research partnerships with commercial enterprises. Many people within the diabetes community believe that these business relationships benefit and may even be an essential element in the development of a cure.
The JDCA, however, believes the notion that charities partnering with commercial enterprises will lead to a cure is a myth for the following reasons:
- Commercial enterprises are shareholder oriented and seek to maximize returns for investors
- The inherent conflicts between the interests of shareholders and those of donors who contribute for a cure are likely (indeed may legally be required) to be resolved in favor of shareholders
- A business’s profit/return motives are incongruous with a non-profit’s motive (which is a cure regardless of profit potential)
- Development of a cure would inevitably shrink the recurring revenue and profit opportunity of an established multi-billion dollar commercial market for treatment/management products
Important conflicts exist between the priorities of a commercial enterprise and the objectives of a type 1 diabetes non-profit. Industry’s major motivations are economic and its cure pursuits are primarily driven by profit/investor return objectives. The JDCA believes these objectives are incongruous with a non-profit’s motive which is a cure for type 1 diabetes, regardless of any profit potential.
According to the JDCA, commercial enterprise’s motivation to maximize both profits and enterprise value may not be fully appreciated by some outside observers. In situations when conflicts do arise between a non-profit and its commercial partner as a result of competing interests, the resolution is most likely to be in favor of the commercial enterprise. The development of a cure for type 1 diabetes is extremely challenging in its own right; creating partnerships between type 1 charities and commercial enterprises introduces unneeded complexities to this endeavor.
The profit/return business model of commercial enterprises is well suited for the sizeable and growing treatments market. Industry generates considerable income from a broad range of type 1 diabetes treatments and then reinvests a portion of those earnings to introduce new products that benefit diabetics. There is a financial disincentive for commercial entities involved in the treatments market to pursue a cure because that result would inevitably shrink the total profit opportunity. In contrast, the operating model for type 1 diabetes non-profits is appropriate for cure efforts and the nonprofit’s more limited financial resources are best directed to practical cure development efforts.
The JDCA has made some very thought-provoking and valid points. In the rush to raise more funds, some type 1 diabetes charities may partner with commercial enterprises without careful consideration of the long term consequences of such a partnership on the possibility of finding a cure.
I worked a number of years for a non-profit charity (in a different industry) who made it a point not to take money from governmental agencies to avoid conflicts of interest and stipulations attached with any funds. As they grew, the temptation to take government funds increased until they finally succumbed. It fundamentally changed the organization over the course of several years.
The same thing can happen when type 1 diabetes charities take corporate funds and partner with commercial enterprises to find a cure for type 1 diabetes. The charity becomes enmeshed in corporate thinking, goals and objectives. The charity changes. While the stated goal may still be the same, the vision can become blurred with profit-driven objectives, strategies and standards.
Based on the results those with type one diabetes have experienced who have implemented a diabetic-alkaline lifestyle, I believe it should be integrated into standard care models for treatment/management, especially for the newly diagnosed.
This healthy lifestyle has significantly lowered glucose levels, reduced or removed insulin needs, and some pediatric patients have become antibody negative. It has delivered for some a result that I consider an acceptable, natural, sustainable, cure-like lifestyle.
It most likely will take a grass roots effort for such results-oriented lifestyle changes to be embraced by allopathic standard care, primarily because there is little money to be made by commercial enterprises. What is disappointing is the fact that type 1 diabetes charities seem to have the same lack of interest in such an effective means by which to treat/manage type one diabetes.
The diabetic-alkaline lifestyle may not be appropriate, acceptable or feasible for everyone. However, I believe it should be laid alongside standard care treatment plans as a possible complimentary means by which to manage type one diabetes and provide what could be the most practical and effective care available to date.
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