Today Roche launched their newest glucose monitor in the United Kingdom, called the Accu-Chek® Mobile. According to the company; “The Accu-Chek® Mobile is aimed at high frequency testers with busy lifestyles. The new meter uses a unique cassette concept, a continuous tape with 50 tests and a single drum containing six lancets, both of which are approved as household waste.”
Roche is not the first company to attempt to offer a monitor contains a cassette which contains test strips. Some recall way back in 2003 Hypoguard developed a similar monitor for Wal Mart; the main difference was the monitor besides containing test strips on a cassette was disposable. The thought at the time was users would use the monitor, throw it away and come back to Wal Mart to buy a new one. Needless to say Wal Mart abandoned this monitor which had a host of issues, the major one being it really didn’t work that well.
Nor is the Mobile a true all in one device. As Diabetic Investor has previously reported Intuity Medical is leading the way here. Unlike the Intuity device which performs all the steps in the testing process, patients using the Mobile still must manually lance their fingers to draw a blood sample. Attached to the Mobile is the Multiclix lancing device. Basically the Mobile combines the Compact Plus monitor and the Multiclix lancing device with a test strip cassette that contains 50 test strips.
Like most systems developed by Roche, it’s a nice idea but hardly revolutionary and just a little late to the party. Although the Intuity device is not yet approved by the FDA, Diabetic Investor has seen the device in operation and it is far more user friendly than the Mobile. Although the current version of the device only holds 10 test strips Diabetic Investor envisions future versions containing 25 or 50 test strips. What really makes the device attractive is the patient simply places their finger on the device and it does the rest. Like the Mobile and Compact Plus, after the cartridge is used up the user simply starts with a new one.
Diabetic Investor is also concerned about the reliability of the test strip cassette used with the Mobile. Any failure, such as jamming, means the patient has to replace the entire cassette. We have the same concern with the Intuity device but at least with the Intuity device you only have to worry about 10 tests rather than 50. Call Diabetic Investor old fashioned but we believe the more chances you give a device to fail, the greater the likelihood it will fail. One nice thing about conventional test strips is that even if a strip fails, it’s just one strip and not the whole vial of strips.
Looking at the size of the device, Diabetic Investor would give the edge to Intuity here as well. Although neither device fits the trend of making smaller, slimmer monitors (OneTouch Ultra Mini, Bayer ContourUSB); the Mobile is based on the clunky Compact Plus platform. Based on what we have seen it would be easier to carry around the Intuity device.
We’ll give Roche an “A” for effort but the Mobile really isn’t anything all the special and is by no means the answer to their many issues in the BGM market. The fact is the Mobile is just another example of a company falling in love with what they think is gee whiz technology. When it reality the technology has never been the problem. But we’ve come to expect this from Roche as they have a long and established history of ignoring the true problems and thinking that new technology is the answer to the multitude of problems that they are unwilling to face.
It should speak volumes that a start up like Intuity understands the needs of the market better than Roche who had a long and distinguished history in diabetes devices. The Roche ship continues to take on water while the captain and crew are busy rearranging the deck chairs.