With us today is Dr. Chris D’Couto President of Neah Power Systems, a developer of fuel cell power solutions using proprietary, award winning technology for the military, transportation, and portable electronic devices.
I have been reading accounts on the message boards of the experiences of someone who claims to have been a participant in the Affinity 1 study. Is this guy for real? Don’t your patients have to sign some form of confidentiality agreement?
There have been considerable postings on the message boards, both touting the benefits of Afrezza and also panning this product and MannKind. We are aware of a number of actual patients who have indeed participated in our trials that have posted on the message boards — to our knowledge all very positive. The particular posting on August 16 was certainly by a patient in the Affinity 1 study. Patient confidentiality rules under the HIPAA rules generally prevent us from knowing the identity of patients in the trials. However, this particular patient and his doctor had contacted us seeking continuation of Afrezza therapy after the patient’s trial participation was completed. We eventually learned from him that he had been posting messages of praise on the boards. Even had that not occurred, some of the posts demonstrated a degree of knowledge about the mechanics of the trial from a patient’s perspective and that convinced us he was genuine. His experience was real and was good. But there is nothing preventing someone from claiming to have been a patient and reporting good or bad experiences that may even be completely false. While we are sure many people who post on these boards are honest and sincere, we are equally certain that there are many who are neither, but who are only trying to advance some self-serving agenda. Patients in the clinical trials are not required to remain silent and they do not sign confidentiality agreements on the theory that there is little that can be learned from the experiences of one patient. Only the clinicians are required to sign such agreements since they may have many patients in a trial and would be better able to predict that trial’s success. Therefore the clinician must keep that knowledge confidential (even from MannKind, the sponsor, at least until the study is unblinded.)