The FreeStyle Libre system uses a small sensor worn on the back of the upper arm to measure glucose every minute in interstitial fluid through a filament inserted under the skin. Abbott said its system can produce a glucose reading painlessly in less than 1 second by scanning a reader over the sensor.
“This is a significant development for the Japanese diabetes community – both for the people living with the condition and for their healthcare professionals,” Jared Watkin, SVP of Abbott’s Diabetes Care division, said in prepared remarks. “FreeStyle Libre has had a demonstrable impact around the world in helping people with diabetes, and we are pleased with the MHLW decision to make the product available through government reimbursement to those who need it.”
In February, Abbott touted results from real-world use data for its FreeStyle Libre system. The data showed that people using its technology to monitor their glucose levels spend less time in hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia and have improved average glucose levels.
“For people living with diabetes frequent glucose measurement is key to effective diabetes management. It is often challenging for my patients to comply with glucose testing because of the pain, inconvenience and stigma of using finger sticks,” Dr. Yoshihito Atsumi, director of the Diabetes Center at Eiju General Hospital, added. “FreeStyle Libre not only enables my patients to check their glucose more frequently due to the convenience of the technology, but it also provides valuable glucose trends and patterns to help me make more informed treatment decisions.”
Japan’s decision puts the country in a group with 16 others that have partially or fully covered FreeStyle Libre, including France and Germany. The system is being reviewed by the FDA in the U.S.