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CGM technology drives diabetes market

CGM technology drives diabetes market

As the diabetes market observes the 100th anniversary of insulin therapy, manufacturers are optimistic about the growth of medical technology in the category. Specifically, the evolution of continuous glucose meters has charted a path forward for the industry to follow, they say. 

Elaine Anderson, head of the Eversense CGM business unit at Parsippany, N.J.-based Ascensia Diabetes Care, calls CGM the “first step change” in diabetes treatment since the “transformative discovery” of insulin a century ago. 

“In the last decade diabetes technology has been blossoming – CGMs have become mainstream, insulin pumps and pen therapy have become smart, and diabetes management has become digital,” she said. “Today, people with diabetes have more choices than ever to select the tools and treatments that work best for their individual needs, and this is only going to improve in the coming years.” 

The American Diabetes Association now recommends that everyone with diabetes has access to CGMs, says Jim Malone, M.D., chief medical officer at Milpitas, Calif.-based Bigfoot Biomedical, “because it has proven so useful in providing patients with insight into their blood glucose pattern on a continuous basis versus a periodic basis from finger sticks, which only give you certain time points, not a complete picture.” 

“That blood glucose pattern also can show how sleep, exercise and diet can impact blood glucose levels,” he said. 

While CGM has become the standard of care for people who take insulin, “it has been confined mostly to those with Type 1 diabetes because of insurance requirements,” Malone says. 

This may be changing, however, as recent Medicare changes support more diabetes patients gaining access to CGMs, said Jeff Bowman, vice president of HME sales for McKesson Medical-Surgical in Richmond, Va. 

“We’re seeing a shift in the marketplace as patients and their physicians gain more confidence and comfort using CGM technology,” he said. “And today, patients are seeking convenient ways to manage their health conditions.” 

Patient preferences 

When it comes to diabetes therapy and treatment, patients have two main tools for monitoring their blood glucose levels: blood glucose meters and CGMs. Patient preferences, Anderson says, are based on how well the products can integrate to help them manage their disease. 

“Both BGMs and CGMs offer slightly different [functions] but are united in their goal of improving diabetes management by helping people to track the impact of medication, diet, activity and lifestyle,” she said. “People with diabetes are looking for products that can help them more seamlessly and effectively manage their condition. A big part of this is having access to a variety of products and, importantly, being able to integrate those products with one another. Managing diabetes is multi-faceted and so it’s important that a person’s glucose meter of choice works with their pump of choice. Companies are working toward this and it’s leading to a more integrated network of diabetes management solutions.” 

In Malone’s view, “patients are looking for simplicity, convenience and choice.” 

“They want the ability to use different products from different manufacturers and use them together,” he said. “As a result, we are seeing more and more products being integrated with each other.”  

For example, Bigfoot Unity is fully integrated with Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre 2 iCGM sensor, which Malone calls “a trend for the future that gives patients more choices and eases the technology burden when systems are integrated like this.” 

Insulin compatibility is another example, Malone says.  

“Some technology devices only pair with specific insulins,” he said. “By contrast, Bigfoot worked with all major insulin manufacturers and our Bigfoot Unity solution is compatible with major U.S. brands of both rapid- and long-acting disposable insulin pens. This is important because we know that nearly one in three patients need to switch insulin brands in a given year.” 

Building partnerships 

HME providers determined to be a complete diabetes care source need to prioritize communications with suppliers, clinicians and patients to boost their market knowledge and fortify their supply chain partnerships, manufacturers say. 

“HME providers who use McKesson Medical-Surgical’s distribution network to support their diabetic patients benefit from hundreds of thousands of products across many product categories, while also having the ability to scale their business, especially in COVID times when it’s challenging from a staffing perspective,” Bowman said. “We want to continue strengthening partnerships with HME providers and leading manufacturers to get products directly to patients who need them to promote better health outcomes through our extensive distribution network.” 

Likewise, Ascensia promotes building networks among all stakeholders in the market, Anderson says. 

“It’s important to listen to people with diabetes and their health care professionals,” she said. “They are the people who know the condition best, use the tools and know what can be most helpful in managing diabetes.”


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