I often say that Dexcom works out at a similar price to the Freestyle Libre – especially with the introductory offer that Dexcom have, which is (in the UK):
- £275 for:
- 1 x transmitter (no extension*) and;
- 4 x sensors (7 days life with easy re-starts)
With the transmitter life and re-using sensors, I got 15 weeks out of my introductory offer.. that’s £18.33/week – and I had a sensor left over.
With my current transmitter due to expire shortly, I thought I’d do the maths on what I’ve spent and what my usage has been during my 44+ weeks of using the Dexcom G5.
In all, I’ve been through 3 transmitters and 10 sensors**. That’s an average sensor life of just over 1 month. The transmitters are said to last 3 months (that’s the warranty coverage legnth), but their actual length of life is up to 112 days, with a 22 day ‘grace period’…that’s almost a whole month extra!
So, my costings:
Introductory Transmitter & 4 Sensors = £275
Transmitter x 2 = £400
Sensors x 8 = £205
Total cost: £1085
I still have 2 sensors untouched, so I’ll deduct the value of these and call the current total cost £985.
I’m into my 45th week with Dexcom, which means an average weekly spend of £21.88.
With the Freestyle Libre, each sensor lasts 14 days, with no option to extend. They retail at £48.29 – so a weekly spend of £24.15 excl. VAT if you’re a diabetic and exempt. However, because of the demand now they’re available in some places on the NHS, they’ve capped the ordering allowance at 2 sensors per order. They also aim to deliver in 5-7 days.
Note: If you’re just starting out with the Freestyle Libre you also need a ‘reader’ – a Starter Pack (Reader + 2 Sensors) retails at £133.29 excl. VAT. The Dexcom G5 doesn’t require a reader as it runs through an app on your phone!
Obviously, there’s not a great deal in it. But even if Dexcom worked out marginally more expensive, I’d stick with it because there are several reasons I prefer it to the Libre (next blog post?) And of course, the calculations are based on average figures across the time I’ve used the G5. Some sensors work longer than others (and I 100% attribute mine lasting so long by covering with Tegaderm***!)
*There are videos of some people managing to sand down the transmitter and replace the batteries for longer use.. it just looks a bit tricky to me and requires a couple of tools!
**I’ve had 2 sensors replaced by Dexcom in that time – one because the sensor failed to start up and the other because there was a lot of blood filling the sensor, so I haven’t counted these.
***I use the 3M Tegaderm Transparent Film Dressing (10 x 12 cm)