When two powerhouses in their respective fields get together to work towards a common goal, we have good things to look forward to. Insulet is the company that manufactures the OmniPod, a tubeless, disposable insulin pump – we like to think about it as the “no strings attached” insulin delivery method. DexCom makes continuous glucose monitoring CGM devices – it is, alongside Medtronic, one of two companies with an FDA approved CGM device.
On January 7th, Insulet and DexCom announced a development agreement to integrate DexCom’s CGM technology into the OmniPod’s wireless handheld unit called the Personal Diabetes Manager (PDM). The integrated device is scheduled for release in the first half of 2009. The PDM will then have the ability to allow patients to regulate insulin delivery and have access to continuous glucose readings from the DexCom sensor also being worn by the patient. Barely three days later, DexCom signed another deal with Johnson & Johnson to integrate its CGM device into Johnson & Johnson’s (Animas) insulin pumps – slated for release late 2009 or early 2010.
One of the most important features of continuous glucose monitoring technology is the trending information it provides – it allows the wearer to know whether glucose levels are rising or falling and how fast these changes are occurring. This information is invaluable to preventing hypoglycemic episodes and helping patients achieve better glycemic control. That said, good control does not just happen, it is incumbent on the wearer to interact with the system and make informed decisions on dosing insulin and adjusting diet as required.
Currently, the only combined insulin pump/CGM device available is Medtronic’s (MiniMed) Paradigm REAL-Time system. A big difference to note is that the Medtronic system does not use a disposable, tubeless insulin pump as the DexCom/Insulet system will. There have been many efforts to create other disposable pumps and in most cases, developers are quickly realizing the complexities of the endeavor - the devil is in the details.
Like almost any market, increased competition works out to the advantage of the consumer. Simply put, competition drives innovation. We hope that the reimbursement arena will be less cruel to patients deigning to use this device and here’s our rationale: (mostly conjecture we warn unfortunately)d
• There will be longer term study data clearly showing the benefits of insulin pump therapy and CGM
• We hope the reimbursement process will be more streamlined after the STAR 3 and JDRF clinical trials on continuous glucose monitoring
Any breaks we can get in reimbursement will be much appreciated given that a combined device will probably carry a premium for the convenience it will offer.
We will keep you in the loop if any more news reaches our ears.