Obesity inflates home diagnostics

Thursday, July 31, 2003

YARMOUTH, Maine - The rising obesity rate in the United States fueled the home diagnostic industry’s 15% growth in 2002 to $2.6 billion, with glucose testing and monitoring accounting for $2.1 billion of those sales, according to a new report by Frost & Sullivan.

“Sales are going through the roof and this country keeps getting bigger and bigger,” said Rob Witt, owner of Howards Rexall Drug in Farmington, Maine. “Obesity leads to high sugar and that means diagnostics goes with it.”

Witt’s got the numbers to back up his enthusiasm. His pharmacy witnessed a 50% growth in home diagnostic sales last year, much of that increase coming from glucose test kits.

With a direct link between diabetes and obesity, and the rate of obesity growing in the United States, a spike in glucose testing and monitoring kits is to be expected, say industry sources. Additionally, at a cost ranging from $20 to $150 for monitors, depending on additional features, and about $1 each for the test strips, depending on the bulk purchased, home diagnostics is becoming more affordable. Technology also now allows test results to be sent electronically to a physician, making preventative care easier to accomplish.

“You can manage disease much better with these tests,” said Samuel Clay Jr., president of Clay Home Medical in Petersburg, Va. HME