Many business partnerships in the world of diabetes care have been announced in recent months — many of which involve sharing and integrating drug and device technologies. But the latest collaboration could have one of the biggest impacts on older adults with diabetes, even though it’s a fairly straightforward retail announcement.
Dexcom, maker of the G6 continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system, and Walgreens have announced that the device will now be available under Medicare at all of the pharmacy chain’s more than 9,200 locations in the United States. This means that for anyone on Medicare whose doctor prescribes the G6, getting started on the system is as easy as dropping by your local pharmacy.
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As explained in a Walgreens press release, prescriptions for CGM systems under Medicare Part B must be filled through durable medical equipment suppliers, manufacturers and limited pharmacies — which mostly excludes retail pharmacies. Walgreens and Dexcom have collaborated to bill Medicare as a durable medical equipment supplier while offering the convenience of retail locations, a combination that hasn’t been available until now.
Walgreens also announced in the press release that it will be working with other CGM manufacturers to offer their products at retail locations under the same Medicare billing model. Like many other pharmacies, the chain already accepts commercial insurance for several CGM devices.
CGM systems are generally prescribed to people with diabetes who take multiple daily insulin injections or wear an insulin pump, and need to frequently monitor their blood glucose levels to make treatment decisions. This can include people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
“Research continues to demonstrate CGM should be the standard of care for all diabetes patients on intensive insulin therapy,” says Kevin Sayer, executive chairman president and CEO of Dexcom, in the press release. “Getting the Dexcom G6 into the hands of Medicare patients through Walgreens pharmacies is a significant step forward in increasing access to the most powerful diabetes management tool available.”
A freelance health writer and editor based in Wisconsin, Phillips has a degree in government from Harvard University. He writes on a variety of topics, but is especially interested in the intersection of health and public policy.
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