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WHERE'S THE SUGARTRAC?

by Ed Bryant

In VOICE Volume 18, Number 4, Fall 2003, I made readers aware of the SugarTrac blood glucose monitor. I mentioned how it will be truly non-invasive, small, inexpensive, and it will talk. I published an artist's sketch of the prototype, and an estimated price: approximately $250. And I relayed how the manufacturer, LifeTrac, from Fort Myers, Florida, was hoping for official approval, from the Food and Drug Administration, by January of 2004.

The approval process is complex and unpredictable. There were snags, and the process was delayed. Where was the SugarTrac? Would we ever see it? On August 23, 2004, I contacted Richard Peters, inventor of the SugarTrac, and asked him for an update.

"When we went to go into production and get our parts," he said,"the chip we were planning to use was now unavailable. So, we had to completely redesign it. The prototype was a little bit larger; but this one is the size of a cell phone. It will also be less expensive; we are now shooting for a purchase price of under $100.

"And the earclip [that the SugarTrac uses instead of a conventional test strip], you're not ever going to have to take it off the unit. What you'll do, instead, is call us every 90 days, and we'll give you a code, for about $10 to $15, that will be good for the next 90 days. So for $40 to $60, you'll be able to test as much as you want, all year long. Diabetics who check regularly will realize how much of a savings this is over buying test strips.

"And the voice chip, it's already on the circuit board."

And obtaining final FDA approval? Peters reports the redesigned meter is going to Harvard Medical Center, around September 15, for final testing. He expects approval by the end of the first quarter of 2005.

I hope it passes its exams quickly. We need a practical, inexpensive, easy-to-use, talking, non-invasive,blood glucose monitor, and the SugarTrac, given any luck at all, should be that meter. I'll be waiting, and as soon as I know something more, I'll let VOICE readers know the specifics. For information, contact LifeTrac, from Fort Myers, Florida; telephone: 1-877-768-6978; website: www.sugartrac.net