BGM going to the dogs

BGM going to the dogs

As everyone knows the glucose monitoring market is facing numerous issues, continued pricing pressure, stagnate growth rates and increased competition are just a few. Based on a story that appeared in the Grand Rapids Press these beleaguered companies could be facing a new, unanticipated threat that could forever change how patients monitor their glucose levels. According to the story; “To measure her blood sugar, Jenna Schuiling could have pricked a finger. Instead, she cuddled with her Labrador retriever.”

The story goes onto to state:

“A seventh-grader at Hudsonville’s Baldwin Street Middle School, Jenna still draws blood eight to 10 times daily to check her blood sugar, the way most diabetics do. She also has a continuous glucose monitor that automatically tracks the level.

But the monitor, which gets inserted through her flesh, is annoying to wear, said Jenna, 13. She much prefers a sniff from Tanner, her “bubby.”

It should surprise no one that already there is a group of researchers getting set to study the effectiveness and accuracy of canine monitoring, while another group will be study whether this talent for measuring glucose levels is limited to Labrador’s or extends to other breeds. Should this second study conclude that multiple breeds can effectively monitor glucose levels, the researchers have indicated they plan a follow on study to see which breed is the most effective.

Diabetic Investor has not yet heard from the American Kennel Club about how they feel about using dogs to monitor glucose nor have the indicated whether glucose monitoring will become a new standard when classifying a dog as pure breed.  Given that dogs have performed other important tasks such as searching for drugs and bombs, and dogs have been used for rescues efforts monitoring a patients glucose levels doesn’t seem like that much of a stretch.

Diabetic Investor is somewhat concerned about how the FDA will react to this latest advancement in glucose monitoring however we suspect that it won’t be long before they come out with draft guidance on possible regulations. We suspect this draft guidance will cover important issues beyond glucose monitor and cover the proper disposable of dog droppings, grooming and which treats are most effective as rewards for accurate readings.

So far we have not heard from any of the major BGM companies themselves as to how this latest development will impact sales nor have we heard from the many companies who are developing interconnected diabetes management systems as to how they would effectively integrate barking into their systems.  One industry source noted that it may be possible to add a microphone to some of these systems which would be used to translate barking into a glucose level, although this source did note that there may issues regarding the presence of fire hydrants.

Given the potential adverse impact this development could have on sales, after all what patient wouldn’t prefer a cute, cuddly and loyal dog which just so happens can monitor glucose non-invasively, it should surprise no one that companies  seeking the Holy Grail of diabetes management a truly non-invasive commercially viable glucose monitor are also concerned with this news.  Many are wondering whether this development will impact their uncanny ability to bilk investors out of millions of dollars on the false promise that one day they will actually have a system that works. Although Diabetic Investor suspects these snake oil salesmen will do what they always and reformulate their strategy, start a new company with the same people only under a different name but this time they won’t be promoting some advanced technology but man’s best friend. Given that dogs work for cheap, think of the profit margin.

Listen if a seventh grader can train her dog to monitor her glucose levels we’re pretty sure that this qualifies as very patient friendly, easy to use system. Additionally, assuming of course the FDA is willing to approve such a system, the patient will receive the added benefit of the love of a fine dog which is priceless. A dog which doesn’t require any coding, no finger sticks, no prescription and comes in wide range of shapes and sizes, again assuming that researchers discover that this ability is not limited to the Labrador breed.

Looking at this realistically this is the worst possible scenario for the management teams at the major BGM companies, who granted are not as bright as a seventh grader but can understand the simple concept of dog monitoring. Frankly Diabetic Investor cannot envision any marketing strategy that would be thought up by these geniuses that could persuade a patient, their physician or educator that there conventional finger stick monitors are better than a dog. Although we suspect they would note that unlike a dog their conventional monitors do not need to be feed, walked and won’t have the occasional accident on the carpet.

Still Diabetic Investor, always on top of the latest trends in glucose monitoring, is watching closely to see how this market evolves with this new development. We have long suspected that the BGM was going to the dogs and now we have proof.