Medicare’s Competitive Bidding program negatively impacts insulin pump users


Last year Bennet Dunlap and a group of committed DOC (Diabetes Online Community) advocates created a social movement called StripSafely. It was the raising of voices of those with diabetes to encourage the FDA to put a post market survey in place to ensure our test strips and meters meet safety standards and the ISO requirement for blood glucose testing.

The movement was a roaring success. Dunlap went to Washington to present to the FDA. The FDA did develop a post-market surveillance testing program. As background, this movement was prompted by Medicares program of competitive bidding for meter and strip manufacturers, increasing the odds that products would be chosen by price, not quality. I was a part of that movement as were thousands of people who wrote letters and it was satisfying indeed to see we could affect such change.

Now, however, the problem continues, or perhaps progresses. Asurveyconducted by the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) finds that suppliers participating in Medicares Competitive Bidding program are failing to provide access to insulin pumps and related supplies. This can critically impact the health of patients either being denied a pump and supplies or being forced to use onenot of their choosing. Many suppliers only offer one brand.