Although glucose test strips have improved the lives of millions of diabetic patients who need to monitor their blood glucose level on a regular basis, the days of high margin disposable glucose test strips may be coming to an end. This may benefit company’s developing alternative products for glucose monitoring, which do not require patients to cut themselves multiple times a day.
Seeking to reimburse less money for glucose test strips, U.S. Medicare intends to significantly push down the price and therefore margins on test strips for suppliers by as much as 70%. Other countries would expect the same pricing, therefore, this will have an impact around the world.
Abbott Diabetes’ glucose monitoring device, which will be available at the end of 2014, is a wearable device with an armband containing a sensor which pierces the skin to have contact with blood and take measurements. While other sensors last for seven days, the sensor within Abbott Diabetes’ device lasts for 14. The wearable device also removes the need for test strips and requires no calibrations. To read the data, users can use an NFC reader, which could potentially become available as an app on NFC-enabled phones.
A smart contact lens designed to help diabetics monitor their glucose levels has also been developed by Google. The lens, which has been licensed to Novartis, uses a wireless chip and miniaturised glucose sensors embedded between two layers of soft contact lens material. An RFID capability enables the power and data transfer.
However, alternative products for glucose monitoring which are currently on the market have been relatively unsuccessful as they are not eligible for reimbursement from healthcare authorities. IDTechEx believes that until these products become approved for reimbursement, they will be targeted at those willing to pay a premium price for the convenience of not having to draw blood multiple times each day.
Further information can be found in IDTechEx’s 'Printed and Flexible Sensors 2014-2024' report.