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T1D Exchange recently took advantage of the golden opportunity to interview Kevin Sayer, chairman, president and CEO of Dexcom. In this interview we learn about what’s happening with Dexcom’s next generation CGM G7, what other products are on the near and future horizon, and much more.
Q1: Can you share the strengths of the current Dexcom G6 over your current competition?
A1: We at Dexcom believe our G6 is the best CGM on the market. It has unmatched real-world evidence demonstrating its accuracy and performance. And it is truly real-time CGM, meaning it automatically sends glucose levels to a user’s smartphone or receiver every five minutes. The system shows trending arrows, so people have insights on what direction their glucose levels are heading and how quickly. It also allows users the option to set customized alarms and alerts to be notified before their glucose levels approach potentially dangerous highs or lows.
The Dexcom G6 also has a unique feature set with our Follow app which allow users the ability and peace of mind to have family, friends, or caregivers follow their glucose levels remotely. Additionally, the Dexcom G6 is the first system ever classified as an iCGM allowing for integration with Tandem Control-IQ, the upcoming Omnipod 5 and other connected systems. (Learn more about the iCGM.)
Q2: What do people with T1D who are on Medicare or approaching eligibility need to know about starting to use CGM or continuing its use?
A2: A recently published study has shown that older adults with T1D benefit greatly from CGM. We’ve worked to make our technology as simple and easy to use as possible so that all users, regardless of technical skill, can navigate and get the most out of CGM technology.
We recommend all eligible Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes talk with their diabetes clinicians to see how CGM can support them. With the recent changes to Medicare coverage criteria (see Q3/A3), it will be even easier for people with diabetes to access CGM through CMS.
Q3: Regarding Medicare, please explain the step Medicare has recently taken to make CGM more accessible for beneficiaries who want to use it?
A3: Medicare just recently revised its CGM coverage criteria to include people with diabetes who use inhaled insulin and those who use an insulin pump that is not on the “Medicare-covered” list. Additionally, the changes have removed the requirement that people must be using a Blood Glucose Meter (BGM) and doing four or more glucose checks each day. This will have a positive impact for both people with diabetes and their diabetes clinicians. These changes go into effect on July 18 and are an important step in making CGM more accessible for people with diabetes.
Q4: Can you provide T1D Exchange readers with an update on the Dexcom G7? When will it be available in the U.S.? Has it been submitted to FDA? (Will this be for clearance, approval, new pathway?)
A4: Dexcom G7 will be the most advanced CGM ever built. We are currently focusing what we share about G7 on the activities that are within our control, namely the completion of the clinical trial and preparation of the regulatory submission to FDA.
Q5: On the Dexcom G7, what will be the changes from the G6 and the attributes of this new system?
A5: The G7 will be 60% smaller than the G6 with an all-in-one, disposable sensor and transmitter, and a simple one-button applicator. G7 will also have a faster (30-minute) warm-up time and will be factory calibrated. It will be everything users love about G6 but even better.
Q6: Can you speak about the growth of CGM use among people with T2D? People who don’t have diabetes but want to track their glucose levels (so-called biohackers)?
A6: We are now seeing more and more evidence of the benefits of CGM for broader populations, including people with T2D. In the beginning of June during the Advanced Technologies & Treatments for Diabetes, data from the MOBILE study was released, a multi-site randomized clinical trial, found that people with T2D who use basal, or background, insulin, benefit from the use of CGM. The study evaluated people with T2D in the primary care setting and found that the group of people using CGM spent increased their glucose Time in Range (70 – 180 mg/dL) to 59% vs. 43%. This translated to an average of 3.8 hours more each day. People using CGM also lowered their A1C more (from about 9% at the start of the study to 8.0% vs. 8.4% in the BGM group at 8 months. The data show what we have long known to be true—CGM is a powerful tool for all people with diabetes regardless of type.
Glucose levels are the most important health metric for people with diabetes, and it is wonderful that others are becoming more interested in looking at glucose as an indicator of general health and wellness. We believe there is a path for us to explore broader consumer use of CGM, but our current priority is continuing to improve access to CGM for people with diabetes who rely on CGM technology the most.
Q7: There are several buzzwords today in diabetes care and technology development – integration, connectivity, and interoperability. Can you speak to how you and Dexcom think about each of these and develop products/work with other tech entities to achieve them?
A7: There are many components to managing diabetes. We’re proud of the great partnerships we have with other technology companies that manufacture pumps, smart pens and digital health apps to enhance our product and the overall user experience. Since Dexcom G6 is the first system ever classified as an iCGM, it has helped paved the way for rapid innovation when it comes to integration, connectivity, and interoperability.
We really see Dexcom CGM at the center of diabetes management—powering an ecosystem that provides choice for our users in insulin delivery and glucose data display and analysis.
Our partnerships, which include those with Tandem, Insulet, Lilly, Glooko, One Drop and many others; allow us to offer more opportunities for more integration, connectivity, and innovation, and ultimately help people to better manage their diabetes.
Q8: Dexcom recently released news about your efforts to launch a campaign to increase knowledge about the glucose metric Time in Range along with several diabetes non-profit organizations. Can you offer Dexcom’s rationale for launching it and more details about the effort? Also share how people can learn more and take action.
A8: The Global Movement for Time in Range is an educational effort to broaden awareness of time in range and its benefits for people with diabetes and their clinicians. We learned that while a majority of people with insulin-treated diabetes feel better when they spend more time in range, so many of them are not applying it in their diabetes care. And, in many cases, their clinicians aren’t bringing time in range to their attention as a way to measure successful diabetes management. We launched this movement in partnership with Nick Jonas and several diabetes nonprofits because we believe that every person with diabetes and their clinicians need to understand and adopt time in range. We encourage people to visit WhenInRange.com to learn more.
Q9: What drives you and others at Dexcom to continue to optimize CGM technology, to improve diabetes care and ease the management burden?
A9: We are driven by our mission to empower people to take control of their diabetes and inspired by the stories we hear of how Dexcom has changed peoples’ lives. I get emails often from Dexcom users and their family members sharing personal stories of a dangerous low that was avoided in the middle of the night because of our alerts and alarms, or a check in conducted 3,000 miles away by a friend or loved one because of our Follow feature. It’s hard to not be motivated in the work we do when the end result is that rewarding. These stories are so very personal to us as many Dexcom employees either have diabetes themselves or have a loved one who does, so we are all living and driving this collective mission to improve the lives of people with diabetes.
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