Abbott wins reimbursement for glucose monitoring device

diabetes devices
Abbott's FreeStyle Libre.

Abbott has secured reimbursement for its FreeStyle Libre glucose monitoring technology in France. The nod positions Abbott to grow sales of the noninvasive blood glucose monitoring device in a country that is already the second-biggest market for the technology globally.

FreeStyle Libre came to market in Europe in 2014 but it has taken time for Abbott to get healthcare systems across the continent’s fragmented payor landscape to cover the device. The addition of France to the list of countries in which the wearable sensor-based glucose monitoring technology is covered means the device is now fully or partly reimbursed in 13 nations.

Confirmation France will reimburse the technology comes 10 months after the country’s health technology assessment agency gave its opinion on the device. The assessment found the device offered enough added clinical value to justify reimbursement. That judgement was based the perceived diagnostic value of FreeStyle Libre and the public health benefits of better managing the complications associated with types 1 and 2 diabetes.

French officials classed the device as likely to deliver moderate improvements over self-monitoring of blood glucose using a capillary meter alone. Abbott said the ruling was the first time France has ruled a glucose sensing technology offers moderate improvements, a status that sits in the middle of the five-rank, no improvement-to-major improvement range used by French officials to classify the added clinical value of medical devices.

The agency said the Dexcom G4 Platinum continuous glucose monitor was a minor improvement over a capillary meter in 2015, putting it one rung below FreeStyle Libre on the French ranking system.

Abbott is hoping to build on the ranking to establish FreeStyle Libre as the preferred glucose monitoring technology in a major diabetes market. French officials put the size of the target population for FreeStyle Libre in the region of 300,000 patients. With FreeStyle Libre currently used by that number of people globally, there is scope for the French reimbursement nod to make a difference to Abbott.