Pharma insight on digital marketing, social media, mobile apps, online video, websites and interactive healthcare tools
by Dominic Tyer
Sanofi has launched an iPhone-compatible device in the UK it hopes will give the pharma company an edge in the tough blood glucose monitoring market.
The iBGStar is the first blood glucose monitor to sync with the iPhone and iPod touch, and the first that allows users to input their own data and notes via a specially designed app.
It costs £48 (about €57) and will be available exclusively through the Boots chemist chain, while Sanofi's separate, standalone BGStar device, which is also launched today, will be available for free from healthcare professionals.
Jason Lovatt, Sanofi's brand lead for BGStar and iBGStar, told PMLiVE: “BGStar is similar to other products on the market, in that it's a standalone separate device to measure blood glucose levels and it has a very competitive feature set.
“The BGStar is a key piece of kit, but where the real innovation comes in is with the iBGStar, which connects to an iPhone and allows you to do a lot more with your results.”
Acting as an electronic log book, the iBGStar's Diabetes Manager app allows users to input specific notes against the readings, such as recording carbohydrate intake, insulin use or other factors that may help them understand their results. Information also can be shared via email with healthcare professionals and family members,
The iBGStar also comes with additional support services, including a 24-hour freephone diabetes care line, a comprehensive website, patient support materials, a lifetime meter replacement service and free control solution.
“It's about trying to provide more than just the meter, more than just an insulin, and complement them with things that help people manage and handle their diabetes," Lovatt said.
The product has already been launched in a number of other European countries, including France and Germany, where it has been well received Lovatt said.
“Blood glucose monitoring is quite a tough market. There are very good products and well established brands. So for Sanofi to have come into the market and have had some success is a big accomplishment for the company.
“What differentiates Sanofi from other companies is the fact that we are an insulin manufacturer as well,” Lovatt said. “The combined approach of looking at someone's treatment needs with regards to their insulin, and then looking at their monitoring needs and then packaging together some education, that synergy is one of the key things that will differentiate Sanofi from other companies in the market.”
Sanofi will use the same salesforce that sells its insulin products to distribute its monitors and demonstrate them to healthcare professionals, in particular diabetes nurses.
The iBGStar has a CE mark as a medical device, in which setting it is classified as an accessory, and Sanofi is considering the practicalities of producing an Android version of the device, where the challenge will be working with smartphones that lack Apple's standard connection slot.