Meet the Meters: A Review of What’s New in the Meter Market

Once the DCCT results were published showing the benefits of tight control, the importance of self-monitoring to a successful diabetes control regimen was solidified. The BG diagnostics market has boomed as a result. United States revenues for 1997 are expected to top out at $877.2 million, and by the year 2004, they are expected to reach $2.25 billion.

Despite this explosive growth, the market is still under-penetrated. According to a recent report on the home diagnostics market by Frost & Sullivan, only 320,000 out of the 800,000 type 1s in the United States and 1.15 million people out of 7.2 million type 2s are thought to monitor their BGs regularly. Overall, approximately 82 percent of all diagnosed diabetics do not monitor their BGs.

As the market continues to grow and millions of diabetics have yet to start testing, companies are scrambling to get the lion’s share of this potential gold mine. Companies are offering more products with more features than ever before to attract customers and are relying heavily on convenient, affordable designs as key selling points.

This year the trend is illustrated by Bayer and LXN, both of which are launching a new and innovative monitoring system. LXN is bringing the first at-home fructosamine self-test to the market with its Duet Monitoring System. And Bayer offers consumers greater convenience with its Glucometer Dex, a meter that requires very little blood and can be loaded with a 10-test cartridge eliminating the need for individual test strips.

The Duet Glucose Control Monitoring System by LXN Corporation

This two-in-one BG and fructosamine meter is the first and only device to provide a glycated protein self-test. The BG portion of the meter provides results in as little as eight seconds, and the fructosamine portion provides results in four minutes.

Fructosamine tests are similar to HbA1c tests in that they monitor your average BG control over a period of time. The fructosamine test, however, measures glucose control over the prior two weeks, whereas the HbA1c measures the prior two to three months. According to LXN, this shorter “window” of glucose control affords a more timely look at the effectiveness of a diabetes management plan.

“With the Duet Glucose Control System people with diabetes can get laboratory quality test results without needing to visit a clinical lab. By combining a rapid glucose test with the first-ever self-test for overall control, the Duet System empowers individuals to have greater control over their diabetes management programs,” says Michael Reynolds, vice president of marketing and sales at LXN.

Call 888-LXN-TEST (596-8378) for more information.

Glucometer Dex by Bayer

“A break through in convenience -the meter’s cartridge eliminates the need to deal with individual strips,” says Bayer of its new Glucometer Dex monitoring system.

Glucometer Dex’s is the only meter on the market to offer a unique cartridge which holds 10 testing strips. Bayer states that only a small blood sample size is needed, and the meter draws the required amount of blood from the sample onto the cartridge automatically. The meter provides test results within a range of 10 to 600 mg/dl and shows results within 30 seconds.

Calibration is automatic, and the meter can store up to 100 test results including their time and date. It monitors mealtime trends and can be programmed to provide averages on tests taken in four different periods throughout the day. The meter is also capable of transmitting information on test results to a doctor’s office via fax and modem with the addition of Bayer’s Win-Glucofax software package.

The monitor will be available early this year. Call (800) 445-5901 for more information.

Other Meters on the Market

Bayer and LXN aren’t the only ones in on the act. Below is just a partial list of some of the other currently, or soon to be available, meters offering innovative features to the consumer.


Precision QID BG Testing System from MediSense

Precision Testing System has a unique test strip which minimizes common test errors due to bright light, humidity, dried blood or dirt. The meter can also be shaken and even held upside down without affecting test results.

The machine starts automatically when the proper amount of blood is applied and allows for a second blood drop application if enough blood didn’t reach the strip. The meter stores 125 readings and requires no batteries or cleaning.

“We designed the Precision QID for the person who uses insulin,” says product manager Dotty Peterson. “Because they tend to test a lot, they want a meter that is easy to use and clinically accurate.”

For those on a budget, MediSense also makes the ExacTech RSG. Besides costing less, the meter doesn’t require calibration. “Considering that improper meter calibration is one of the most frequently reported BG testing errors, the fact that our monitoring system doesn’t require calibration is very important,” says Peterson.

MediSense claims that the cost of strips are up to 40 percent less than most other brands. In addition, when you buy any ExacTech product a donation will be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International to support research to find the cure for diabetes and its complications.

Call (800) 527-3339 for more information on MediSense products.

Accu-Chek Instant by Boehringer Mannheim

“The Accu-Chek Instant’s speed is a major selling point. It gives results within 12 seconds,” says Sarah Hanssen product manager for Accu-Chek Instant at Boehringer-Mannheim.

Boehringer’s small, simple, two-step Accu-Chek Instant is designed to be convenient for people on the go. It has a visual back-up system to compare the strip test results with the color blocks on the vial to confirm the blood-glucose level range.

The reading range of 20-500 mg/dl is sufficient but narrower than other meters on the market.

Boehringer-Mannheim also manufactures three different Accu-Chek blood glucose monitoring systems-Accu-Chek Instant, Accu-Chek Advantage, and Accu-Chek Easy. The Advantage model offers the most features and stores 100 test results with times and dates. The Easy model can memorize as many as 350 tests, therefore providing better data management. The Instant model is the quickest in giving results, but stores only nine results.

Each fits a different consumer need and economic level. According to Hanssen, some people don’t need the extra memory.

“We want to appeal to a wide range of individuals,” Hanssen says.

For more information call (800) 858-8072

Prestige Glucose Monitoring System by Home Diagnostics

The Prestige System allows users to apply blood to the test strip inside or outside the monitor, whichever is easiest for the user. The system gives results in as little as 10 seconds, checks to see if enough blood has been applied and has a testing range of 25 to 600 mg/dl. The system also features fully absorbent test strips, a large, easy-to-read display and the ability to recall the last 40 tests.

Because of the meter’s straightforward design, quality and low cost, Lynne Brown de Garcia, director of marketing and sales, believes that Prestige BG monitors are preferred by most major third-party billers.

Home Diagnostics also offers the Diascan Partner Blood Glucose Monitoring System for the visually impaired. The Diascan Partner allows the user to smear blood onto a raised pad and removes the blood prior to contact with the monitor. It has a test range of 10 to 600 mg/dl.

For more information call (800) 342-7226.

Glucochek PocketLab by Clinical Diagnostics, Inc.

Clinical Diagnostics Inc. introduced the Glucochek PocketLab as a low cost alternative to other BG monitoring systems. Glucochek PocketLab test strips are available for less than half the price of many other brands – the average retail price for a bottle of 150 test strips is $39.95. The average retail price for the meter is $10. The meter, however, utilizes the older “wait and wipe” technology.

“The meter is accurate, easy and most of all, affordable,” says Michael J. Cutter of Clinical Diagnostics.

Call (800) 860-9937 for more information.

SureStep Meter by LifeScan

“The SureStep Meter was specifically designed to meet the needs of people who have difficulty testing due to vision or dexterity problems,” says Dave Detmers, LifeScan’s marketing communications manager.

The test strip can be touched anywhere without fear of ruining the test and allows flexibility in blood application. A dot on the back of the strip turns blue when enough blood has been applied.

“Because the SureStep System is so forgiving of user errors, wasted strips and inaccurate results caused by poor technique are virtually a thing of the past,” says Detmers.

Call (800) 227-8862 for more information.

CheckMate Plus by Diabetes Control and Care Technology

The CheckMate Plus is the only meter with a built-in lancing device. “This lancing device, along with the low-priced strips makes the meter particularly attractive to the consumer,” says Cindi Shore, national sales manager. The company claims that their strips cost 40 percent less than most others on the market.

No wiping, blotting or timing is required to operate the system, but the test takes approximately 90 seconds. It has a 225 test memory including time and date, and it can provide messages in six languages.

Call (813) 264-4788 for more information.

HemoCue Glucose Analyzer

The HemoCue Glucose Analyzer can be used to verify the accuracy of a patients’ home glucose meters. It is intended for professional use and can be used to screen and diagnose diabetes.

Verifying personal glucose monitor results is very important for clinicians. Before the HemoCue, an in-hospital blood glucose lab test was necessary to check the accuracy of home glucose meters. The HemoCue Glucose Analyzer offers a way around this inconvenient and costly step.

“When I heard about HemoCue I wrote a proposal to show how much could be saved if we did meter verification with the HemoCue. It keeps patients out of the hospital, helps patients gain better control and we have an accurate value within two-and-a-half minutes,” says Joann Henry, RNC, MSHS, CDE, of the California Diabetes and Pregnancy Program.

The HemoCue can store BG results for up to 1,000 patients and offers 28 user definable parameters.

Call (800) 323-1674 for more information.

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