An Apple A Day

An Apple A Day

Just when it looked like things couldn’t get any wackier, news comes from the QMed web site that Apple, the makers of all things way cool, is also looking to get into the glucose monitoring business. News which comes on top of the splash Google made with their way cool glucose monitoring contact lenses. Now unlike Google, Apple – according to the story on the QMed web site-

“But Apple being Apple, they have to up the ante. Therefore, that is the reason the so-called Healthbook won’t be just another “me-too” offering for the gym crowd but will also be able to track health metrics ranging from blood pressure to blood-related data points, such as glucose levels. Hence, possibly, the FDA meeting, since this is territory requiring FDA approval to take to market.”

Although Diabetic Investor remains somewhat skeptical that either Apple or Google will actually enter the BGM market one thing we do know for sure is there mere presence in the market will provide false hope to the many way cool BGM products under development. Products that while way cool have little chance of being commercially successful as they are mostly based on the fantasy that patients will actually pay for this way cool technology because it is way cool.

Diabetic Investor, just like we did when the Google news broke, wants to see the look on the faces of Apple employees when the FDA asks them to conduct some crazy test or asks them for some crazy piece of information. It seems the Apple device unlike the Google contact lens will be worn on the patient’s body, something not un-similar to the many wearable devices that were featured so prominently at this year’s Consumer Electronic Show.  While this sounds and is way cool we can only imagine that requests the FDA might have with such a device. Keep in mind this is the same agency that seems to believe that patients with diabetes are akin to heroin addicts sharing lancets with anyone and everyone. This is also the same agency which still has not approved the Pogo all-in-one device from Intuity, a process which is now dragging into its third year. Heck in three years Apple will launch 18 way cool iPhones.

That’s the thing when it comes to all this way cool technology and we don’t care whether it’s measuring glucose levels with contact lenses or a wearable device, since these are regulated medical devices, devices which in many cases provides patients with data which the patient then uses to dose insulin, the regulatory process is not rarely a smooth one. But the getting the product through this lengthy and very costly regulatory process is just the first step. Next is getting the device into the hands of the consumer and getting it paid for. Yes there is no doubt that a small minority of patients will pay for these way cool devices no matter how much they cost but the vast majority of patients won’t.

Diabetic Investor suspects that when it’s all said and done the only people going to be helped by Apple and Google entering this market are the many small startups who also have way cool technology and the many scam artists who’ll bilk investors out of millions of dollars based on the false hope that Apple and Google will ride to the rescue.  Yet at the end of the day we can’t help but believe that the difficult science, unknown regulatory path and worsening reimbursement environment will prevent even well capitalized, well-known companies like Apple and Google from seeing any of these way cool products achieve commercial success.