A new Flash Glucose Monitoring system (FGMS) device priced as high as Rs.1,999 has been released in the market by Abbott India, but giving the keys ot deciphering the reading to a doctor, effectively making the whole diagnostics much higher than the traditional prick and see device.
The wearable device that consists of a small sensor of the size of a Rs.10 coin is inserted in a self-adhesive pad and tied to the back of the upper arm of the patient. The sensor will record the sugar levels in the body every 15 minutes and keeps the record for 14 days at a stretch.
After 14 days, the diabetic patient is supposed to visit the doctor, who has the glucose monitoring reader to scan the sensor and download the results stored in it.
“The beauty of device isn’t just that it does away with the finger pricks, but also the fact that it reads the glucose levels 24 hours a day for 14 days,” said Dr Shashank Joshi, endocrinologist, diabetologist and president of Association of Physicians of India.
The device can keep 130 records of glucose reading and gives the doctor comprehensive data to fix medicine, says Dr Joshi, adding that the current devices are real time monitors and one may miss high sugar attacks or low sugar conditions in patients.
However, unlike the current monitors, the new FGMS device, manufactured by Abbott, a pharmaceutical company in the United Kingdom, gives the doctor more control on a patient and fails to give the patient enough freedom to know his own sugar levels instantly.
The new business model makes the FGMS not only very expensive but also makes it obligatory for the patient to return to the doctor for analysis every 14 days for prescription of the medicine.
The idea of wearable sensors is to give the patient freedom to know his own body condition and then consult the doctor but in this case it is made compulsory to visit the doctor for just decoding the readings. Moreove, an obligatory visit to the doctor every 14 days increases the dependence on endocrinologists and diabetologists in India, increasing the queues in clinics.
Another flip-side of it is that the sensor is available for patients for Rs 1,999 but to know the results, the patient has to shell out few more thousands, making it prohibitively expensive and anti-poor device in a country like India.