Already before Dexcom’s Super Bowl commercial aired on Sunday night. The company has faced setbacks in the affordability of its continuous glucose monitors. That criticism continued after the ad with Nick Jonas went on asking why people with diabetes still rely on fingersticks for diabetes management in a world defined by the latest advanced technology.
Patients with type 1 diabetes responded on Twitter. While many praised the company’s technology for its control of blood sugar, another thread popped up: the company’s G6-CGM system was too expensive for all patients to adopt. Some contrasted it with patients having difficulty affording the product at the estimated cost of $ 5.5 million, broadcasting a superbowl ad.
The fact that a diabetes device company can afford to air a $ 5 million commercial while millions with diabetes struggle to afford their insulin is exactly why proponents point out these companies spend more on marketing than on access. # insulin4all #dexcom #superbowl
– Justin Mendoza, MPH (@JustinDMendoza) February 2, 2021
Dexcom turned down the criticism, describing the ad as an educational move to improve patient access.
“Awareness is an important component in the struggle to improve access and reimbursement, so placing an ad during the Super Bowl is one of the most powerful ways to support and strengthen our ongoing efforts CGM Open to anyone who can benefit, “Dexcom said in a statement emailed when asked to respond to price criticism.
The enterprise declined to comment on how much the ad costs.
Dexcom and Abbott Laboratories are leading CGM manufacturers in the rapidly growing diabetes technology market, which includes insulin pumps and closed-loop control systems that combine the two devices. The space has caught the attention of investors and Wall Street analysts as Dexcom and Insulet have enjoyed success over the past few years and Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre CGMs have repeatedly fueled the company’s growth.
The battle over pricing was at the heart of the CGM competition. Abbott was strategically targeting a cheaper CGM that could reach a wider population, and Dexcom recently sold its products primarily through pharmacies, bringing the price lower.
Dexcom According to the company, a month of supplies, which include three 10-day sensors, costs over 70% of users with pharmacy coverage in the U.S. $ 60 or less, and a third has no out-of-pocket expenses, according to the company. However, these numbers do not apply to all patients.
Price estimator website GoodRx found the average selling price for three 10-days Dexcom G6 sensors were $ 424 but $ 135 for two 14-day sensors for Abbott’s Freestyle Free.
A spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association said patients with diabetes often face a number of hurdles to accessing new diabetes technologies. For example, commercial insurance often does not cover the devices for everyone, so the patient has to pay full price for using them.
According to the company, ninety-nine percent of insurers cover Dexcom’s products. However, the ADA spokesman stated that even if a plan covers the devices, patients will still have trouble prescribing the device. Additionally, the majority of patients who would benefit from CGMs receive Medicare, and the state insurance program has tight reimbursement requirements.
Even if a patient is covered by commercial insurance or Medicare, coverage can be inadequate and still be expensive, according to the speaker. Price and access issues related to CGMs and insulin pumps are in addition to the challenges faced by the diabetes community even without the devices, such as: B. rising insulin prices.
These access problems have also been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. In a survey conducted by ADA in December, 20% of patients said they had given up using CGM or insulin pumps, with half the cost cited. Approximately 15% of patients who rely on management devices such as CGMs and pumps have not replenished supplies. 70% say this is due to cost.
Like many drug companies and medtechs, Dexcom said in its statement that the company had launched a patient assistance program to help users who lost health insurance during the pandemic.
ADA plans to work with Congress and the Biden Administration specifically on cost and access issues for diabetes management technology, with an emphasis on increased reimbursement and coverage amounts and policies that can encourage more competition in the area .
Some political movements have already started. CMS proposed a rule in October to expand coverage of CGMs through the Long-Life Medical Device Channel. However, both Dexcom and Abbott focus on selling devices through pharmacies. And California Governor Gavin Newsom is trying to expand Medicaid’s coverage of CGMs under the 2021-22 state budget.