A Law for Lilly — or Is It Eli Lilly?

The Chicago Tribune has a feel-good story that is also a bit creepy.

Lilly Jaffe is a girl who lives in suburban Chicago. She has been treated since infancy for Type I diabetes, which requires injections to deliver insulin. Recently, however, researchers discovered that she has a rare condition that could in fact be treated by oral medication.

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No more needles or insulin pump? That’s the feel-good element.

As for the other part of the story, here’s what the Tribune had to say:

Hoping to find more patients and gather more genetic information to study, University of Chicago doctors proposed the creation of the first state-mandated diabetes registry. They crafted legislation after joining forces with Rep. Tom Cross, R-Oswego, whose 16-year-old daughter, Reynolds, has Type 1 diabetes, though not the mutation.

The bill officially became Lilly’s Law when signed by Gov. Pat Quinn last month. The law requires Illinois physicians to register all children with diabetes onset before 12 months of age with the state Department of Public Health. Its backers hope the registry, which was approved as a three-year pilot program, leads to further advances in understanding the genetic cause of diabetes.

Whenever a law has a person’s name in it, watch out: Overly ambitious government may be at hand. Even more unseemly, perhaps, are laws created by a politicians in response to their family situations.

I certainly hope more children who might benefit from this treatment find out about it. But requiring physicians to enter the names of children in a state-run registry? That’s not only an intrusion of the doctor-patient relationship, but a violation of patient privacy. Now you might argue for required notifications in the case of serious communicable diseases, but last time I checked, you can’t get diabetes of any kind by handshakes or sneezes.

Eli Lilly is a major player in the diabetes drug sector. I wonder if they had a role in Lilly’s law.

Cross-posted from State House Call.