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The future for affordable blood glucose testing

Diabetes and its management place a significant burden on the NHS and have a considerable impact on patients and carers. Estimates suggest that around 700 people per day are diagnosed with diabetes – that's one person every two minutes1. Understandably, this leads to both financial and capacity challenges for local health economies (LHEs).

However, a recent commitment made by Roche Diabetes Care has considerably changed the landscape. The Strip Free Accu-Chek Mobile blood glucose monitoring system has had the price of its Accu-Chek Mobile Test Cassette cut by over a third. Roche Diabetes Care, market leader in the blood glucose meter market, has demonstrated by this bold initiative that it fully understands the budgetary challenges facing the NHS.

By reducing the prescription cost of the Accu-Chek Mobile 50 test cassette to £9.99, Roche is making an investment to help support clinicians and payers who have, in recent times, been faced with the need to focus on prescribing medications or devices with the lowest upfront costs. Although this cost saving strategy may seem the right approach, it has reportedly led to difficult decisions which have involved prescribing restrictions and limiting patient choice on the meters provided2. There is evidence of dissatisfaction among those patients who have been switched to a different, cheaper meter, and it has also raised questions about short-term cost savings compromising clinical benefits both immediately and in the longer term2.

In a pivotal study, insulin patients using the Strip Free Accu-Chek Mobile system showed an HbA1c reduction of 0.23 per cent when compared to patients using a conventional system3.

It is currently estimated that the NHS spends about £10bn on diabetes every year4. A massive 66 per cent of this is spent on dealing with acute events as a consequence of poor control5. A further 15 per cent is spent on drugs dealing with the complications of poor control5. This highlights the importance of ensuring that the medications and devices used to manage diabetes are as effective as possible.

The Accu-Chek Mobile system is the only blood glucose monitoring system with consumables under £10 that has clinical evidence demonstrating lower HbA1c’s through better compliance6,3. A survey of over 3,000 Accu-Chek Mobile users showed that over 90% of users reported that it is easier, faster and more discreet than conventional single strip systems7.

Innovative technology, such as the Accu-Chek Mobile system, used in conjunction with the appropriate medication types, provides an opportunity for a substantial positive impact for patients, as well as for the budgets of local health economies. This price reduction initiative from Roche Diabetes Care is at least part of the answer to the financial difficulties that many health economies are facing, and is a move to be welcomed.

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  1. https://www.diabetes.org.uk/Documents/Position%20statements/DiabetesUK_F.... Figure based on newly diagnosed figures from the 2011/12 and 2012/13 National Diabetes Audit, extrapolated up to the whole population with diabetes indicated by the QoF data for the equivalent years and divided by two to give an annual average. [Accessed 30 June 2017].
  2. https://www.diabetes.org.uk/Documents/campaigning/1092_Testing%20times_t.... Diabetes UK Testing Times Report [accessed 30 June 2017].
  3. Maran A, et al: Use of an integrated strip-free blood glucose monitoring system increases frequency of self-monitoring and improves glycemic control: Results from the ExAct study. Journal of Clinical and Translational Endocrinology (2014). DOI: 10.1016/j.jcte.2014.08.003.
  4. https://www.diabetes.org.uk/Documents/Position%20statements/Diabetes%20U... . Diabetes UK State of the Nation 2016 report. [accessed 30 June 2017]
  5. Direct spend on Diabetes in UK in 2012 taken from diabetes.co.uk. Proportion of diabetes spend on strips as a percentage of overall diabetes prescription is taken as in Prescribing for Diabetes England 2005-06 to 2013-14.
  6. Dr S Schmidt et al: The BolusCal Study, a randomised controlled pilot study. Use of an Automated Bolus Calculator in MDI-Treated Type 1 Diabetes. Diabetes Care, published online February 16, 2012.
  7. Accu-Chek Mobile Users Survey 2013. Respondents using the Accu-Chek Mobile as their main meter n=3,132. Data on file.