April Issue 2005

April Issue 2005

It was interesting reviewing the quarterly numbers for the companies in the blood glucose testing market. Most impressive were LifeScan’s results, compared to results from last years 1st quarter US sales rose 24%, while International sales were up an equally impressive 26%. Although the company recently had issues with their Ultra meter, during JNJ’s conference call the company stated they did not expect any adverse affects from the shipping ban on Ultra meters. They went on to state the problem has been corrected and Ultra meters will resume shipping shortly.

Abbott also posted some solid results, according to their press release “Abbott Diabetes care blood glucose monitoring products have moved to preferred status on the United Healthcare formulary effective May 1, 2005.” They went on to state, “The strong momentum in Diabetes Care continues as a result of new products launches and strong execution, which has lead to a 2 percentage point increase in U.S. market share compared to the first quarter of 2004.”

Roche was on the laggard in the group as with just 7% growth when compared with last years particularly strong results. The company announced that the Accu-Chek Aviva, their successor of the Accu-Chek Advantage, should be launched in the US in either July or August. Timing couldn’t be better as the Advantage is definitely showing signs of age, as US sales fell 24% in the first quarter. Also in the pipeline is the Accu-Chek Compact Plus set to launch in the third quarter. The Compact Plus is Roche’s first attempt at an all in one device where the meter and lancing device are all in one unit.

While Diabetic Investor does not see the balance of power shifting in the market, it should be noted that LifeScan’s gains are a direct result of their aggressive contracting with managed care providers. Introducing newer meters with advanced technology is always important but the fact of the matter is contracts with managed care providers are what really matters. Look for Roche to be equally as aggressive when the Aviva is launched.

David Kliff
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