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Abbott CMO on Expanding Continuous Glucose Monitors Access

CGM access

Mahmood Kazemi, the Chief Medical Officer of Abbott Diabetes Care, is steadfast in his aspiration: making CGM technology accessible to all individuals grappling with diabetes, irrespective of their insulin intake.

Recent developments, such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ expanded coverage of CGMs for Type 2 diabetes patients on basal insulin or those with a hypoglycemia history, have ushered in a pivotal shift. Abbott, a leading player in the diabetes tech market, estimates that this coverage extension could benefit approximately 2 million individuals.

Kazemi emphasizes the company’s drive to broaden accessibility, aiming to encompass Medicaid beneficiaries and individuals not reliant on insulin in their treatment regimen. In a conversation with MedTech Dive, Kazemi delves into the company’s recent studies and initiatives to enhance coverage.

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Interview Excerpt: Mahmood Kazemi on CGM Expansion

MedTech Dive (MTD): Medicare recently expanded coverage of CGMs in the U.S. for Type 2 diabetes patients. What significance does this hold for patients?

Mahmood Kazemi (MK): The expansion is a significant stride because clinical studies affirm that these technologies transcend Type 1 diabetes. Individuals with any form of diabetes can benefit from CGMs, necessitating access to glucose readings regardless of their diabetes type, be it Type 1, Type 2, gestational diabetes, or diabetes during pregnancy.

Our extensive studies over the years have showcased the advantages of these technologies for Type 2 patients. We’ve observed reductions in hemoglobin A1C levels and instances of low glucose or hypoglycemia.

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Additionally, there’s a marked enhancement in quality of life—an aspect often overlooked but crucial to ensuring tangible improvements for individuals managing diabetes.

MTD: Is there a disparity in CGM usage between individuals on multiple daily insulin injections and those on basal insulin?

MK: Decision-making is integral for individuals managing diabetes, irrespective of insulin usage. CGMs provide real-time feedback, aiding in understanding the impact of lifestyle choices, medication, and insulin on diabetes management.

While access is available for insulin therapy users, our focus remains on extending access to a wider audience. The medical benefits are evident for anyone with diabetes, regardless of insulin reliance.

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MTD: How does CGM access differ in the U.S. and globally?

MK: The Medicare decision was a significant leap, but Medicaid, operating at a state level unlike the national scope of Medicare, encompasses about 75 million Americans. Abbott is actively advocating and making progress on a state-by-state basis to improve continuous glucose monitor access for the Medicaid population.

The Medicare decision has also positively influenced private payers, resulting in increased coverage for Type 2 patients, even those on minimal insulin injections. Our global aim is universal accessibility for all diabetes-affected individuals.

MTD: What steps are taken for cash-pay programs?

MK: Our U.S. program ensures affordability, limiting cash payments to $75 per month for two sensors, catering to individuals lacking commercial insurance coverage or those uninsured.

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MTD: What else is pivotal for enhancing access?

MK: While coverage for Type 1 diabetes is substantial, the focus now is on Type 2 patients, especially those not reliant on insulin. Ensuring accessibility for all individuals managing diabetes remains our primary goal.

Mahmood Kazemi’s vision for comprehensive access to CGM technology underscores Abbott Diabetes Care’s commitment to inclusivity and support for the global diabetes community.