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Diabetes Ther. 2012 Nov;3(1):7. doi: 10.1007/s13300-012-0007-6. Epub 2012 Jun 27.

Cost of Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose in Canada among Patients on an Insulin Regimen for Diabetes.

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IMS Consulting Group, 3 Lagoon Drive, Suite 230, Redwood City, CA, 94065, USA,



People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing a variety of medical conditions relative to those without diabetes, resulting in increased healthcare costs. Self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) is accepted as a recommended element of effective diabetes self-management. However, little is known about the real-world frequency and actual expenditures associated with SMBG, as well as the impact of SMBG costs relative to the cost of diabetes treatments. The primary objective is to evaluate the real-world utilization and costs of SMBG tests in Canada among insulin-treated diabetes patients during a 12-month follow-up period.


A retrospective cohort study was conducted using the IMS Brogan Inc. Drug Plan database from July 1, 2006 through June 30, 2010. Total costs during the 12-month follow-up period were assessed, focusing on blood glucose (BG) testing strip costs, insulin therapy costs, and costs associated with oral antidiabetics medications. All prevalent patients with two or more prescriptions for insulin between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2009 were initially included in the analysis, the first prescription serving as their index date. Depending on the insulin type(s) used, patients were subcategorized into one of four insulin regimen groups (basal, bolus, premix, or basal-bolus).


Among an initial sample of patients with two or more claims for insulin between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2009, 142,551 met the aforementioned inclusion and exclusion criteria. An overall mean utilization of pharmacy-based blood glucose testing of approximately 1,094 strips per person per year was observed, with an average cost per testing strip of Canadian $0.79. SMBG treatment costs for insulin users ($860), specifically those associated with prescription testing strips, totaled 41.6% of the average annual pharmacy costs of diabetes-related prescriptions ($2,068).


This study shows that SMBG accounts for approximately 40% of the total diabetes-related pharmacy costs for insulin users.

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