Abbott (NYSE:ABT) said today that it has won public reimbursement in Ontario and Quebec for its FreeStyle Libre sensor-based glucose monitoring system — the first of its kind listed by any provincial health plan in Canada.
FreeStyle Libre is designed to monitor glucose levels with a small sensor on the back of the upper arm that can be scanned with a handheld reader or smartphone. It provides real-time glucose readings and allows patients to dose insulin based on the results, eliminating the need for traditional fingersticks, according to Abbott.
In February, the company touted data that showed FreeStyle Libre users performed an average of 12 scans per day and that people who scanned frequently lowered their time in hypoglycemia by 31% compared to those who did not scan frequently. The company also found that estimated HbA1c levels decreased from 8.2% to 6.7% as the scan rate increased.
Another analysis showed that people who scanned a second time within one hour of a low-glucose event lessened the likelihood of prolonged hypoglycemia by 56%.
Chicago-based Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre system was authorized for sale by Health Canada in 2017, the company said in a news release. Abbott has secured partial or full reimbursement for the system in 33 countries, including the U.S., U.K., France, Ireland and Japan.
“Healthcare professionals and patients tell us that the FreeStyle Libre system is life-changing. These reimbursement listings are important for the many Ontario and Quebec residents who rely on provincial health plans to ensure they have access to this breakthrough technology,” Marie-Flore Nabor, general manager of Abbott’s diabetes care business in Canada, said in the release. “Abbott will continue to work with other provincial and territorial governments to make the FreeStyle Libre system more widely available to all Canadians living with diabetes.”
“For me, I know the only possible way to properly control my diabetes is to check my glucose levels multiple times a day, and the FreeStyle Libre system lets me do that in a quick and simple way,” added Montreal resident Anne Pertus, who was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2016. “Knowing that the FreeStyle Libre system will be covered by the province is a huge relief for me. My husband is retiring next year and we will no longer have private insurance, so this coverage is critical for me to continue to see the benefits of sensor-based glucose monitoring.”
Shares of ABT were down -1.4% at $84 per share in mid-afternoon trading today.