Roche debuts latest blood glucose meter, savings program

The Accu-Chek Guide glucose meter has several upgrades to facilitate glucose testing, including a port light for use in dark settings. (Roche)

Roche Diabetes Care rolled out its latest blood glucose meter along with a new savings program for test strips used by the device, which the company says could save patients up to thousands of dollars a year.

The Accu-Chek Guide System is Roche’s most accurate glucose meter and has several new features to facilitate blood glucose testing, according to a statement. These include a spill-resistant vial for test strips and a larger area on the strip for blood application, which can be helpful for people with sight or dexterity issues, said Brad Moore, head of Roche Diabetes Care North America.

The device also employs a port light at the insertion point, which allows for testing in dark areas, such as a movie theater or a dark restaurant. The system automatically sends blood glucose data via Bluetooth to an accompanying app. And patients may, if they opt in, share this data with their healthcare providers, he said.

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But while the glucose meter provides several improvements over existing devices, the belle of the ball is the SimplePay savings program, which Moore said demystifies the cost associated with managing diabetes.

Related: Roche won't sell diabetes business—it's looking for deals to boost it instead

More than 29 million people in the U.S. and about 422 million worldwide have diabetes, according to CDC and World Health Organization statistics. In the U.S., variation in insurance plans, as well as the varying prices of devices and drugs used to manage the disease, can make the out-of-pocket costs for patients unclear.

Under the SimplePay program, each time a patient buys test strips, he or she will pay $19.99 for the first vial of 50 strips, and $10 for each subsequent vial. A box of strips for the Accu-Chek Guide’s predecessor, the Aviva Plus, goes for $44.99 on Amazon and $109.99 at Walgreens, USA Today reported.

The average patient, who tests once a day, could save $600 to $700 a year on strips, Moore said. But patients who test as many as 10 times a day would stand to save much more.

Roche isn’t the only company working to ease the burden of glucose testing—Mountain View, California-based Livongo offers unlimited test strips as part of its diabetes management platform.

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