LifeAfterDx--Diabetes Uncensored

A internet journal from one of the first T1 Diabetics to use continuous glucose monitoring. Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

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Location: New Mexico, United States

Hi! I’m William “Lee” Dubois (called either Wil or Lee, depending what part of the internet you’re on). I’m a diabetes columnist and the author of four books about diabetes that have collectively won 16 national and international book awards. (Hey, if you can’t brag about yourself on your own blog, where can you??) I have the great good fortune to pen the edgy Dear Abby-style advice column every Saturday at Diabetes Mine; write the Diabetes Simplified column for dLife; and am one of the ShareCare diabetes experts. My work also appears in Diabetic Living and Diabetes Self-Management magazines. In addition to writing, I’ve spent the last half-dozen years running the diabetes education program for a rural non-profit clinic in the mountains of New Mexico. Don’t worry, I’ll get some rest after the cure. LifeAfterDx is my personal home base, where I get to say what and how I feel about diabetes and… you know… life, free from the red pens of editors (all of whom I adore, of course!).

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Show me the money

Is mySentry overpriced? If you had bought it yesterday, it would have set you back $2,400. Now the price has gone up. Order today and it’ll set you back $3,000. Will your insurance help you out? Probably not. Not this year anyway. In the future? Maybe. These things take time. It’s déjà vu of the early days of CGM when the people at the insurance company would say continuous glucose what?

I wrote a review of mySentry over at Diabetes Mine a few weeks ago and all the feedback focused on price. It wasn’t a healthy discussion, either. It was more the type of rants you’d expect over something Congress had done or not done. The level of anger was palpable. You could taste it in the air.

The commenters raged against Med-T for charging so much. And they were angry about the existing system not being loud enough. And they were also angry the pump didn’t talk to their smart phones.


Where to even start? What planet do you people live on? Clearly one the FDA is yet to discover. To “fix” the volume issue would require Med-T to get a fresh approval. That’s starting over. It would take years. Have your pump talk to your phone? Are you kidding? Would you be happy with a four-year-old smart phone? That’s right. The FDA might approve a specific pump talking to a specific smart phone, but they aren’t ready to approve a blanket app for any phone.

So, you’d better get comfortable with proprietary devices, it’s going to be that way for a while. Hey, let’s not lose sight of the big news here: just moving the real time data to a remote device is ground breaking from an FDA approval standpoint. Dragging out my moldy airplane analogy: mySentry is the Wright Flyer and you all want Boeing Dream Liners. Yeah, we’ll get there, but it’s an evolutionary process. We have to go one step at a time.

But what about that three thousand bucks? Do I think that’s too much? Is it true what some people say, that it probably costs Med-T fifty bucks to make one?

You know, the second one might have cost fifty bucks to make. But the first one cost five million. I’m sure that if anyone volunteered to pay full price for serial number 1; then Med-T would be more than happy to sell serial number 2 at a honest price. No takers? Well then, I guess Med-T has no choice but to spread the development and regularity costs out over more than just the first few units.

Actually, and keep this to yourselves, because it’s a secret: CGM loses money. Dex is up to its ass in red ink, and while Med-T mixes all its numbers together, it’s highly doubtful they have yet to make a penny in cold-hard profits from CGM, much less have created a cash flow stream to pour into further research and development. This whole CGM thing is an investment in the future. Sure, Med-T hopes to make a pile of cash off of CGM… in the long run. So, in some ways, mySentry is a gift. It will only be bought by a small percentage of CGMers, off whom Med-T isn’t making any money in the first place.

Overpriced? Impossible to say. I think iPads are overpriced, but people stand in line to pay for the latest and greatest version. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the people crying loudest about mySentry’s pricing were the same people standing in line at midnight at the Apple store.

First-in-class devices of any kind are always expensive. If you wait, they’ll get not only better, but cheaper, too. The original Guardian CGM cost me a fucking fourtune, both to buy and to operate in those years before insurance covered it. Now they are cheaper and better. But I’m not sore about that. This is no luxury item for me and my family. Like food and water; this is basic to my personal survival. That expensive early model kept me alive. And that’s not just being selfish, I’m the sole income earner for my family. And even more importantly, I have a boy to raise into a proper man (or as proper as humanly possible), before I can be excused from this life.

The greatest single threat to my existence is this damned inability to feel lows. Even the swift, deep ones. Am I mad that I’ll need to scrape up $3K to buy this thing if I decide to switch? That once again my family will do without a vacation for a couple more years, or little luxuries they might want? That I’ll have to keep drinking two-buck-Chuck rather than a more-pleasing-to-the-palette Malbec?

To be honest, nah. I’m too old, too cynical, and too jaded to waste that kind of energy. I’m looking at this martini as the glass half full, not half empty. mySentry is posed to be a quantum leap for me—for my health and my health security.

I’m not mad about the price.

I’m just delighted that it’s for sale.


Blogger Jonah said...

How much did the Guardian cost you when you first bought it? Because it went up in price during the time I used it.

7:42 AM  
Blogger Wil said...

Jonah-- $2,790 in 2005 dollars, so about $3,277 into's bucks. Read all about it back then at:

7:53 AM  

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