LifeScan Ups the ante
You have to admire LifeScan and their zest for pushing the accuracy of their glucose monitors. Yesterday the company was informed buy their partner Universal Biosensors, Inc that the new One Touch Verio was launched in the Netherlands. According to the web site for the product (http://www.lifescan.nl/OurProducts/Meter/OneTouchVerio.aspx), under the product feature section is the following statement; “OneTouch® GlucoFilter ™ technology filters out interfering substances, which may be missed by other meters” UBI manufacturers the test strip for the Verio.
As Diabetic Investor previously reported LifeScan was already touting accuracy in their print ads in Canada. To Diabetic Investor this focus on accuracy is a great move by the company as it places their competitors squarely on the defensive. However, this focus also comes just as the FDA is set to hold a panel meeting on how monitor accuracy can be improved. To Diabetic Investor it looks as though LifeScan has decided to get ahead of this issue and will try and frame just what accuracy really means.
While Diabetic Investor would never state that improving the accuracy of a glucose test is not a good thing, we truly see this more as marketing ploy more than having a therapeutic benefit for the patient. The implication being made by LifeScan is that insulin users who need this measurement to determine how much insulin to dose will somehow achieve better outcomes or have fewer insulin related adverse events if their test result is more accurate. While Diabetic Investor understands this sentiment, a glucose test result is just one of several factors taken into consideration by the patient before they decide how much insulin to dose.
To prove our point Diabetic Investor took a series of glucose readings and plugged them into the OmniPod PDM. We then altered the glucose readings alone by as much as 20% and left the other data unchanged. While there were slight differences in the amount of insulin recommended these differences were so slight we would not consider them therapeutically relevant.
Continuing with this very unscientific experiment when we altered the amount the carbs entered in the PDM the recommended dose can change dramatically. Granted this experiment was not performed in a controlled setting however we believe if you asked 100 insulin using patients to conduct this same experiment the results would not be dramatically different.
It should also be noted that the term accuracy means different things to different people. As noted on the Netherlands web site external factors or as they call them “interfering substances” can impact results.
The reality here is a consumer glucose monitor will never be as accurate as laboratory device, nor does it need to be. Yes it would be nice if results were more accurate and equally nice if results we’re not overly impacted by “interfering substances.” However, in the real world this push towards greater accuracy only truly impacts a mere handful of patients. But as we have seen with the whole PQQ issue which started this focus on accuracy, it really doesn’t matter all that much if the issue is real or invented. As Roche unfortunately learned when the public starts to believe an issue as fact you cannot ignore it.
Give LifeScan credit for once again making their competition play by their rules. This emphasis on accuracy is really stroke of genius as no one will come out and publicly state that making a monitor more accurate is a bad thing. No one that is expect maybe Diabetic Investor. But then again we’re the ones who believe that developing an artificial pancreas is a waste of time and resources. Heaven forbid that we get away from this technological fascination everyone has and actually educated patients as to what these readings mean and how they should be used to improve outcomes. And we can’t have any of that.