The Diabetes Hands Foundation announced today that it will send diabetes advocate Bennet Dunlap to participate on a panel September 9, 2013 aiming to address the growing concerns around blood glucose test strip accuracy. Representatives from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), clinical experts, research scientists, device manufactures, and patient advocates will meet to identify potential solutions to this serious health threat to adults and children living with diabetes. The meeting will be hosted and facilitated by the Diabetes Technology Society and will take place at the Hyatt Regency Bethesda, in Bethesda, Maryland from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dunlap, who has type 2 diabetes and is the father of two children with type 1 diabetes, will represent the patient perspective on a panel at 3:15 p.m. EDT.
"Like any parent, the safety of my children is my top priority. Millions of people rely on blood glucose test strips every day to stay safe and healthy. It is critical that the FDA holds all manufacturers accountable to the accuracy standards currently in place," said Dunlap. "I'm committed to working with the FDA, Congress and the rest of the diabetes community to ensure all patients with diabetes have access to the tools they need to make educated, informed and accurate treatment decisions."
Dunlap is an active leader in the Diabetes Hands Foundation's Diabetes Advocates program, a group of more than 120 patient champions dedicated to improving the lives of people living with diabetes. He recently launched the awareness campaign StripSafely (www.StripSafely.com), a grassroots movement to educate fellow caregivers, patients and the public about the risk inaccurate glucose test strip readings pose to patients living with diabetes. Action taken (dosing of insulin, etc.) based on an inaccurate meter reading can lead to a serious hypoglycemic event or even death. The campaign was launched after the FDA confirmed that a number of blood glucose monitoring systems fail to meet accuracy standards after initial approval and introduction into the marketplace.
As a part of the StripSafely effort, Dunlap is working with bloggers and other members of the diabetes community to spread the word about the accuracy issue and engage policymakers to ensure glucose monitors meet minimum accuracy requirements. Since June, participants have sent letters to Congress and more than 3,400 tweets have been issued under the StripSafely hashtag (#StripSafely), garnering attention from patients, industry, and leaders in Washington.
"Mr. Dunlap shares our concern for the health and safety of people living with diabetes," said Manny Hernandez, Co-Founder and President, Diabetes Hands Foundation. "Meter accuracy is of critical importance for the diabetes community. For people with diabetes on insulin, an inaccurate reading can mean the difference between health and hospitalization. We are eager to hear the FDA's proposed solutions and look forward to sharing our perspective on the urgency of this issue."
On the panel, Dunlap will represent the Diabetes Hands Foundation, speaking alongside David Sacks, American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC); Jane Seley, American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE); Robert Ratner, American Diabetes Association (ADA); Hubert Vesper, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Andrew Boulton, European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD); Courtney Lias, Food and Drug Administration (FDA); Aaron Kowalski, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF); Guillermo Arreaza-Rubin, National Institutes of Health (NIH); Gary Puckrein, National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF); and Robert Vigersky, The Endocrine Society (TES).
To learn more about the StripSafely campaign and how to get involved, visit www.StripSafely.com/join. You can find sample letters to Congress and sign a petition to encourage the FDA to sponsor a patient meeting on diabetes.
For more information about the September 9 meeting, visit: www.diabetestechnology.org/bgm.
Diabetes Hands Foundation