Roche Diabetes Care officially announced the US launch of the Accu-Chek Guide BGM system and SimplePay Savings program yesterday. As we learned through an introductory DOC webinar last week, the meter is refreshingly launching with a major focus on affordability AND highly accurate strips. Patients can get the meter for free and sign up for the SimplePay savings card at Accu-Chek’s website. With the card, a vial of 50 strips is $19.99, and each incremental 50 strips thereafter will add just $10. This means 100 strips for $29.99, 150 strips for $39.99, etc. That’s between $0.22-$0.40 per strip without insurance, depending on the quantity purchased – nice! Patients can also get the meter through the mySugr Logbook app integration – those interested can download a voucher in the app and a free upgrade to mySugr Pro. The company hopes that the convenient features of the next-gen system (see our mini test drive – we especially loved the strips’ very wide blood application area), as well as its affordability will drive uptake in a transition time for the overall diabetes business. In January, Roche discontinued pump sales in the US, and according to an Indianapolis Business Journal article, laid off 157 employees (42 in Diabetes Care) in March. In the 4Q16 call in early February, management also had to stave off rumors that it was considering sale of the diabetes segment . We’re curious to watch the Guide rollout and the impact on sales, since it is an upgrade on a few fronts over the current strips (especially on affordability).
- We also wonder how the Insight CGM will play into the future of Roche’s business. It’s too early to tell right now. The sensor launched in a controlled fashion in the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden toward the end of 2016, but there have not been material updates since. Dr. Irl Hirsch alluded to the device at ENDO 2017, suggesting that pivotal trials (presumably US) will begin this summer, but we have not verified with the company.
-- by Brian Levine, Adam Brown, and Kelly Close