Integrated Human Practice


As the living standard rises, the incidence of diabetes is also increasing or even accelerating. Suffering from diabetes is no longer the concern of the minorities but gradually become a common phenomenon in society. With the increasing dissatisfaction of the public with the current medical treatment, our team aims to provide a much more advanced and effective solution to solve T2DM which is bothering more than 80% of the diabetic population.

In our project, we regard Integrated Human Practice as some of the most critical components since it is the best evaluation of how our work is to the world and at the same time how our final work is shaped by the mutual interaction between us and the public. In this sense, we value any suggestions and comments from the stakeholders. To get a more balanced view, we conducted a series of activities, including interviewing experts in the related field, designing questionnaires, and interviewing the general public. From all these activities above, we hope to get a better insight into the question that we are investigating now and adjust our work along with the reception of new comments and ideas.

Figure 1. Overview of our integrated human practice

Online Questionnaire

Our questionnaire on diabetes collected a total of 625 samples, of which more than 50% of respondents have friends or relatives with diabetes or are diabetic themselves.

According to our survey data, for those who do not have diabetes, there is insufficient social awareness of the dangers of diabetes and its prevention, and many people have long-standing habits that can lead to diabetes. Those with diabetes, generally believe that existing treatments are not very effective and that medication is relatively expensive on the market.

The statistics on their drug selection priorities show that most people pay more attention to the actual efficacy of the drug than the brand effect, which is good for our new start-up company that has not yet established brand loyalty. Moreover, most patients prefer to go to hospital pharmacies to buy drugs, indicating that they are more compliant with medical advice, reminding us to focus our future sales channel distribution on hospital pharmacies.

Of course, there is more we could conclude from the survey results as shown in figure 2 below.

Figure 2. Questionnaire data analysis

Offline Survey

Figure 3. We interviewed the public regarding diabetes in street

To better understand and related to the feeling of the public, we did an offline survey in the nearby shopping mall to collect people’s opinions about diabetes.

From all the interviews we’ve done so far, what we notice immediately is that most of the interviewees have heard of diabetes but very few of them have a further understanding of the disease. People with family members or themselves who have suffered from diabetes on the other hand are more comfortable with answering their perception and understanding of T2DM.

In our survey, we also received complaints about the economic burden brought by the high cost of medication (e.g., Insulin). Although some of the medication is subsidized by the government in the form of social benefit, the long-term treatment required for treating diabetes is still making the bill unaffordable to the low-income population. There is a mixed opinion about the related policies. More than half of the interviewees express their discontent with the lack of care for diabetic patients as well as the insufficient public education on the prevention of the disease. At the same time, the remaining are comparatively more positive about the current circumstance.

Whatever opinion they hold, there is a growing consensus among the public that a more convenient and more effective treatment is needed to treat diabetes.

Experts’ Interviews

Dr. Jian Lu, Nanjing Traditional Medicine University

Figure 4. We were consulting Dr. Jian Lu regarding the drug development

In our conversation with Dr. Lu, he explicitly stressed the uncertainty of the cost of the drug screening process. This includes the uncertain biological regulation and the huge sample base of the compounds which we might need to screen, the time taken to complete and achieve the best compound is also unpredictable. This piece of information given from a professional point of view alarmed us with the applicability of our business proposal.

Therefore, at that moment, we doubted our project and the consequent restless concerns pushed us to re-consider the type of end product we are going to produce.

Another point that can be concluded from Dr. Lu’s sharing would be the knowledge of the immune response in the human body. To be specific, if we are going to inject the micro-molecular compound into the human body, the efficacy will be lowered as the body reacts to the invasion. What’s more, from Dr. Lu’s answers, we found that biological medicine’s targeting precision is an extremely important part of the product and our business’s R&D.

With these suggestions, huge amounts of negotiations between the dry team and wet team took place and the final settlement came slowly but not late.

Dr. Cheng Lu, pharmacist-in-charge of Wuhan Institute of Technology Hospital

Figure 5. We were in the online meeting with Dr. Cheng Lu

Dr. Lu is specialized in Chinese medicine, in the conversation with Dr. Lu, Dr. Lu provides us with further insight from a traditional Chinese doctor’s perspective. In the conversation, we get to know how diabetes is treated by traditional Chinese medicine and how traditional Chinese doctors see diabetes as a disease.

First of all, Dr. Lu mentioned another name for diabetes in the traditional Chinese medical culture, which is ‘Xiao Ke’. Traditional Chinese doctor put more attention to treating the individual symptom the patient has, whereas western doctor is more focused on laboratory result. Although Chinese and western medicine seem like completely different branches, they complement each other to cooperate with each other to achieve a higher efficacy.

Mr. Andong Zhang, Senior Risk Control Manager

Figure 6. Screenshot of the virtual interview with Mr. Andong Zhang

Mr. Zhang has a rigid foundation and experience in investment, we interviewed Mr. Zhang and hope to get more suggestions from a professional investor’s standpoint.

In the meeting, Mr. Zhang expressed his worry about the tremendous start-up fund we might need. He pointed out that the general long cost-recovering cycle for drug development may also make our product less appealing to the investor. Thus, after interviewing Mr. Zhang, our team went through a series of discussions and decided to change our end product into the form of a diabetes supplement. We hoped that will require less funding and time to investigate and also may need to face fewer regulations.

Since our product has changed, we need to rewrite our BP. Luckily, with the experience of writing the previous business plan, this change did not cause much delay to our progress.

Mr. Mao Ye, Production manager of a pharmaceutical company

Figure 7. Screenshot of the virtual interview with Mr. Mao Ye

After last time’s online meeting with Mr. Zhang, our team decided to adjust our end product to the diabetes supplements. However, this idea was rejected by the interviewee the next day which is Dr. Ye.

Our meeting with Dr. Ye mainly covered three points. First, about the cost of new drugs. Dr. Ye mentioned that the largest cost in the development of new drugs is the initial investment in early-stage research and development, and then there will be a 14-year patent protection period. The investment is, indeed, really high, which is common in the pharmaceutical industry, but the ROI(return on investment)is also high. During this protection period (14 years), businesses enjoy the exclusive right to produce and sell.

Secondly, Dr. Ye talked about the feasibility of changing the form of our end product into health supplements. Dr. Ye believes that this change is inappropriate because if we want to replace the drug with supplements, it is to some extent, illegal. Although developing drugs might seem hard and time-consuming, Dr. Ye still believes if our drug has been successfully developed, it is totally worth of time.

Lastly, Dr. Ye reminded us of the relevant advertising laws regarding our product. For instance, prescription drugs can only be advertised in professional journals.

With Dr. Ye’s suggestion, we decided to stick back to the original version of BP and do the last bit of refining work.