News | March 2, 2001

European diabetes glucose self-monitoring devices service? A Frost & Sullivan global diabetes subscription

Diabetes incidences set to rise as Europe turns to early diagnosis to combat economic burden

The demand for blood glucose meters is soaring as governments push early diagnosis in a bid to reduce the economic burden of diabetes as the number of diabetics continues to rise.

Current World Health Organisation (WHO) figures estimate the number of diagnosed diabetic sufferers at 175 million worldwide. As disease incidence rises and diagnosis improves, these figures are set to top 239 million by 2010.

Surprisingly, meters are not considered a big revenue generator, according to a new study into the European Diabetes Glucose Self-Monitoring Devices Service, by international marketing consulting company Frost & Sullivan. The study found sales of blood glucose strips earn more revenue at a higher profit margin than the meters. But the sale of strips depends largely on the choice of meter resulting in companies giving away free meters in order to capture a share of the highly lucrative strips market.

"Initially this phenomenon started by companies giving away a few meters to hospitals. The meters were distributed amongst newly diagnosed diabetics as a means of capturing new market potential for strip sales," industry analyst Lushani Koddituwakku explains.

?A marketing strategy initiated at this point has now become a strong marketing tool for promoting strips. Countries such as Italy do not sell meters anymore. The competition between players was so intense that either the company gave way free meters or lost their market share completely. How quickly this phenomenon will take over Europe still remains a question. But free meters is definitely going to happen; it's only a matter of time.

The European diabetes glucose self-monitoring devices market generated revenues of $885.3 million in 1999, the base year of the report. Frost & Sullivan forecasts it will rise to $2.5 billion in 2006 as European governments take steps to ensure diabetes is diagnosed early, reducing the risk of costly related illnesses.

"Complications of diabetes such as kidney failure or blindness can be either prevented to some extent or postponed as a result of effective blood glucose monitoring," the study says. "This in turn prevents incurring large costs involved in treating blindness and kidney failure, which requires either dialysis or kidney transplant. Increasing diagnosis will stimulate growth in incidence, which will expand the patient population."

Specialists and patients have been prompted to be more aware of the disease and diagnose at an earlier stage than in the past by a number of studies throughout Europe, including the UKPDS. The landmark 20-year study found tight control of blood sugar reduced the risk of eye disease by a quarter and the risk of early kidney damage by a third.

"Increasing diagnosis will likely stimulate growth in incidence, which will expand the patient population. Most of these newly-diagnosed patients will need to monitor their glucose levels and, therefore, resort to self-monitoring," Lushani Koddituwakku continues.

Germany held the largest share (34.6 percent) of the total European diabetes glucose self-monitoring market in 1999, with revenues of $306.2 million. The study forecasts strong growth rates for Germany, stimulated by the willingness to monitor the disease. It was followed by the UK, where approximately 2.5 percent of the 59.3 million population are diagnosed with diabetes. It held 15.7 percent ($139 million) of the market. France was close behind the UK with 14.5 percent ($128.4 million).

The European Diabetes Glucose Self-Monitoring Devices Service is part of the Global Diabetes Online Subscription. Reports on the US and Asian diabetes glucose self-monitoring devices markets will be released later this year.

Frost & Sullivan is an international marketing consulting company that monitors a comprehensive spectrum of healthcare markets for trends, market measurements and strategies. This ongoing research is utilised to complement a series of research publications such as the Diabetes Medication subscription. Free executive summaries of all Frost & Sullivan reports are available to the press.

Lushani Koddituwakku has written an article on the free meters market which is available to the press. She is also available for interviews.

SOURCE: Frost & Sullivan