Dexcom and Xdrip+ are great tools for managing Diabetes. In the interview given by Dexcom CEO Kevin Sayer:
“You’ve got to understand, medical device companies and hacking, those two concepts don’t go together well. So we were very upset and we were pretty aggressive speaking out that this is not a good thing.
“But in all reality, the hackers are Dexcom patients. They purchase product from us, they’re so dedicated to it that they use it and try to make their lives better by developing tools that they think are better than ours. The right answer for this community is to put the features into the system that they want to make it better and make it more usable for them. We have ideas to help this community and ideas to embrace and engage them.
“Now let’s go to the flipside of that. The FDA is concerned about this and they’re going to regulate this. I see a day where, maybe not of our own choice, we will have to tighten up our product to whereby that doesn’t happen. And if FDA requires it, we will.”
It seems that he is using “CEO-speak” in order to advocate for the death of the open source community. To me this is unacceptable as the Dexcom software doesn’t allow the user to control their own data or alerts and hides info from the user (ie transmitter battery levels…) that gets shipped back to the corporation. Given that many new sensors stay in the lower ranges for the first couple of days or can have accuracy issues, not controlling alerts prevents users from sleeping and leads to associated blood sugar/health problems.
Labeling the open source engineering as “hacking” gives bad connotations too since the software developed by the community has rigorous testing and transparency and has led to the improvement of the proprietary software. As an engineer, I am much more comfortable using products that I understand and can modify. The purpose of CGM is to deliver blood sugars, not control the entire user experience while extracting as much money from their bank account as possible.
Alex Azar (head of Dept. Health) is anti-diabetic and responsible for dark lobbying efforts and the quadrupling of humalog prices and its associated effects. As such, the FDA’s relationship to Dexcom is not aligned towards helping the patient.
What can be done to improve these issues?