FDA approves first ‘artificial pancreas’ for diabetes treatment
The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved the first so-called artificial pancreas, an out-of-body device expected to lift the burden for some diabetics on the daily grind they must go through to keep their blood sugar levels stable. It will be available next spring for patients with type 1 diabetes who are over age 14.
The device, which looks like a smartphone, is designed to automatically monitor and administer the delivery of insulin for type 1 diabetes patients, whose ability to provide insulin naturally is impaired. It wirelessly links up an insulin pump and glucose monitor, allowing patients to partly turn over the process of testing and adjusting their blood sugar levels. It’s not unlike cruise control: Patients still have to manually control their glucose levels before they eat.
In the diabetes community, optimism about the new device is tempered by fears that it will command a high price tag that could put it out of reach for patients already grappling with the soaring cost of insulin. Medtronic, which developed the “MiniMed 670G,” has yet to announce how much it plans to charge. But spokeswoman Leslie Bryant said the company expects to offer it “at currently offered Medtronic pump system pricing” and is talking with health plans to “enable patient access.”
Medtronic’s application was approved on the back of a study that tested how 123 type 1 diabetes patients fared on the device. No patients reported developing complications like excess blood acids or low glucose levels that can result from poor monitoring of the disease.
Medtronic is a Continue reading