Over 600 diabetics made to use cheap, inaccurate glucose monitors

Glucose meters (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Christidy)Glucose meters (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Christidy)

Reporting point Diabetes Association Netherlands has received 600 complaints from diabetic patients who had to change their glucose monitor for a new - and cheaper - monitor against their wishes, NVKC, the Association of Clinical Chemists told NRC. These cheaper monitors are often inaccurate and unreliable.

About 250 thousand Dutch people use a glucose meter several times a day so that they can judge whether they need to eat something or should inject more insulin. Too high levels of blood sugar could cause damage in the long term, such as blindness, heart problems or even the loss of a limb. Too low levels of blood sugar increases the risks of dizziness, unconsciousness or even falling into a coma.

For this reason it is very important that glucose meters give exact measurements. According to the ISO standard, these measurements are only allowed to be off by a maximum of 15 percent. These newer, cheaper models often do not abide by these standards.

Clinical chemists and patients often see larger deviations. This is possible because manufacturers themselves are allowed to demonstrate that their meters are up to standard. For this reason, diabetic organizations and clinical chemists are calling on the government to introduce an obligatory annual inspection by the independent institution TUV Rheinland. This institution already provides a quality mark to some manufacturers on a voluntary basis.

Diabetes Association Netherlands has also written an urgent letter to the Dutch Healthcare Authority with this demand. The Authority discussed the demand with a senior official of the Ministry of Public Health on Monday. The discussion focused on the problems with medical devices for diabetic patients.