Meters and masters of mediocrity

 - 
09/18/2009

The FDA says its time to tighten the standards for glucometers. That's because the current error rate for the devices is  a whopping 20%.
As someone who depends on these devices—to the ouch-inducing tune of 8 to 10 times a day—to make sure I am not in any clear and present danger, I find it appalling that a 20% inaccuracy rate has been acceptable for so long.
Not to mention the long term repercussions if my blood sugars have actually been, say, 20% higher than I believed over the last 10 years.
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg says the devices have been "generally effective" in managing diabetes since they launched in the 70s (that's a long time ago now, folks). What does that even mean?
Apparently, manufacturers are content with the standard so why bother with improvements? After all,  some of these companies only have a few measly billion dollars to show for all my finger sticking.
According to a Wall Street Journal article, J&J doesn't break out the sales, but they are part of its diabetes-care franchise, which had $2.5 billion in sales last year. Abbott's diabetes-care unit had $1.35 billion in sales last year.
Theresa Flaherty

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