New Advantage blood test meter to launch in the UK


available to people with diabetes in the

US as part of President Obama's health

reforms. He says, "Our meters have not

been subject to any FDA*** recalls or in

fact any quality issues and has home and

clinical use approval from the FDA."

Taking advantage

So why enter the UK market? Coming at

it from the outside, Lai has looked at the

UK market and can see that the starting

point in the NHS is justifying the cost of

supplying anyone with a blood test meter

and strips. "Many CCGs* seem to be

convinced that low cost meters are the

best choice," he says, "and some CCGs

are only giving patients a choice of meter

1 or meter 2 - literally just two meters to

choose from."

However, even he admits, "The UK

market has exploded because everyone

wanted to get in on it, but I wanted to

apply what we have learnt in the US to the

UK market. It is a challenge to enter the

UK market but my company is small and

can move fast. We have new products

in development that should be available

in the early part of 2015. It involves new

test strips. The current strip has three

electrodes; the new strip will have five.

However, while more sophisticated, the

strips will require a smaller blood sample.

They will be able to gather data on the

level of hematocrit in the blood of the

person taking the test. This is a ratio of

red cells in your blood. Kidney dialysis

treatment often affect hematocrit levels

so the wrong meter would give the wrong

reading if not allowing for the variation in

the level of hematocrit. The new strip will

read the hematocrit and the meter will

adjust accordingly in order to give the

correct blood glucose reading. CCGs

therefore should not be limiting patients

to a choice of just two meters. The point

is to get the right health care technology

into the community and to the self-user."

In comparing the UK and US markets

Lai has noticed simple things, like the fact

that in the UK the population seems much

more interested in data uploading than

their US counterparts. Therefore there is

a USB port on the meter in the UK. He

says, "Data is vital and it needs to be easy

to upload. Also coming soon is a new

meter that is approaching blood testing

from a slightly different direction where

you put your finger into the meter. This is a

way of eliminating tremors in, for example,

the more senior population."

While the UK market is, arguably,

saturated, perhaps the Advocate meter

range can yet bring something new to the

party. The Advocate is aimed at Type 1 or

Type 2s and leans heavily towards people

who want to download data and who

want accuracy to be the prime purpose

of the blood test readings. The company

offers extensive product support as

well as affordable strips, whether being

purchased by the NHS or by anyone

buying their own. If big brands are not

necessarily the best, maybe a small

mover can make a mark.

* Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs)

are NHS organisations set up by the

Health and Social Care Act 2012 to

organise the delivery of NHS services in


** YPI - Yellowstone Pathology Institute

*** Hematocrit is in your blood plasma.

58% of blood glucose is in plasma, 42%

is in red blood cells. Infants for example

have very high Hematocrit, about 70%

as the lungs aren't developed enough to

carry enough insulin or oxygen (I am not

quite sure) and also levels of hematocrit

vary between men and women also

smokers are more likely to be 50% of

plasma and 50% of red blood cells. They

too need more red blood cells to carry



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