August 14, 2000
Blood Tests and Insulin Injections
Question from Townsville, Queensland, Australia:
Are Continuous Glucose Monitoring Systems available in Australia? How much do they cost and what computer requirements are needed to download the readings?
Neither the GlucoWatch nor the Minimed Continuous Glucose Monitoring System has yet received final FDA approval in the US for use by patients (see comment below). However, the former is expected to be on the market here in the USA in 2001. They are certainly planning for worldwide distribution, so that I would expect it to reach Australia sometime soon too. The MiniMed device does not presently permit downloading at home, but for the GlucoWatch there is a small adaptor about the size of a cigarette pack which hooks into the COM1 or COM2 port on your PC. There is a software package to go with it. Price is estimated at $300 US for the GlucoWatch itself and $4.00 US each for the 12 hour iontophoresis pads.
The Swiss firm Disetronic is said to be going to start trials in Europe soon of what will essentially be an artificial pancreas combining a sensor with the pump.
[Editor’s comment: There are several companies currently working on continuous monitors and I expect that we will see an influx of this new technology in the not too distant future.