Study: FreeStyle Libre CGM Improves Diabetes Care for Underserved Communities

Study presented at the American Diabetes Association (ADA) 81st Scientific Sessions shows meaningful outcomes for people with diabetes who use the FreeStyle Libre system.

A new study indicates that use of the FreeStyle Libre continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system bolsters health care equity by facilitating access to more affordable technology that improves management of diabetes for individuals in underserved communities, according to an Abbott press release.

The study, presented at the American Diabetes Association (ADA) 81st Scientific Sessions, shows meaningful outcomes for people with diabetes who use the FreeStyle Libre system. These outcomes include a decrease in HbA1C levels, acute diabetes events, and all-cause hospitalizations, according to the study.

"Abbott is helping to close the health disparity gap for the millions of people living with diabetes. We designed FreeStyle Libre system to be broadly accessible to all those who need it, no matter a person's income level, race or background," said Mahmood Kazemi, MD, divisional vice president, global medical and scientific affairs and chief medical officer, Diabetes Care, Abbott, in a press release. "This [sic] new data adds to the unparalleled clinical evidence and real-world data from more than 1 million users demonstrating the positive impacts — in both health and equity—that come from the significant cost-savings of Abbott's life-changing continuous glucose monitoring technology."

The comparative real-world data for US-only matched patient groups showed that FreeStyle Libre produces the same health benefits, including reductions in HbA1C levels and acute complications, such as hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia, while being more accessible to a greater number of patients with diabetes than other CGM systems.

Further, demographic data indicate that patients who use the FreeStyle Libre system more closely represent the diversity of the population living type 1 and type 2 diabetes, including individuals who are older, individuals living in rural areas, people of color, and those with higher rates of comorbidities, Abbott stated in the release. More widespread use of CGM could save the Medicaid program millions per year while also reducing complications among patients, according to the researchers.

The study pointed to the benefit of using a CGM versus traditional blood glucose monitoring with finger-sticks by decreasing potentially harmful and expensive complications and producing an overall cost savings for patients with types 1 and 2 diabetes. Cost analysis data showed that growing the population of FreeStyle Libre users by 10% could save Medicaid $23 million in a single year by decreasing complications, according to the study.

The rise in health care inequality among underserved populations, including low-income families, individuals with disabilities, older adults and people of color, illustrates the need for greater access to affordable and effective CGM systems, according to the researchers. The study noted that the median percentage of Medicaid beneficiaries with HbA1c of more than 9% is approximately 39%, which is more than twice the corresponding national average of 16%.

"For millions of people living with diabetes, systemic disparities are limiting access to healthcare resources, diabetes education, care and technology," said James R. Gavin III, MD, PhD, clinical professor of medicine at Emory University and chief medical officer of Healing Our Village, Inc, in a press release. "By opening the vital gateway to access, including to technology to monitor glucose continuously, we can drive improved health outcomes, stabilize glucose levels and keep people out of the hospital."

Further, Abbott has committed to donate $5 million over three years to bolster the ADA's Health Equity Now initiative, which advocates for patients with diabetes to have greater access to care and the latest medical advances.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has brought increased attention to the significant health disparities faced by millions of people from low-income and underserved communities across America, and has put a spotlight on the additional challenges faced by the particularly underserved population with diabetes," said Tracey D. Brown, chief executive officer, ADA, in the release. "Access is at the center point of how we can bridge the inequity gap for people with diabetes. Everyone living with diabetes should be able to lead healthy, full lives and that begins with ensuring widespread access to the latest technologies, including continuous glucose monitoring technology."

Reference

Late-Breaking Data Demonstrate Abbott's Freestyle® Libre System Supports Health Equity For Millions Of Americans Living With Diabetes. News release. Abbott. Published June 25, 2021. Accessed June 27, 2021. https://abbott.mediaroom.com/2021-06-25-Late-Breaking-Data-Demonstrate-Abbotts-FreeStyle-R-Libre-System-Supports-Health-Equity-for-Millions-of-Americans-Living-with-Diabetes