Abbott to hike production of lower-cost glucose monitors as diabetes soars

CHICAGO — Abbott Laboratories plans to ramp up manufacturing capacity for its lower-cost continuous glucose monitor, the FreeStyle Libre, by three to five times in the next few years, aiming to reach millions more patients worldwide, the company told Reuters.

Abbott executives said the increase in manufacturing capacity will begin in the second half of this year and make room for the expected U.S. launch of the FreeStyle Libre 2. This next-generation device has been approved in Europe and is now under U.S. regulatory review.

Abbott’s plans for Libre, its fastest-growing diabetes product, used by 1.5 million people worldwide, will be in focus when the company reports quarterly earnings on Wednesday.

Jared Watkin, Abbott’s senior vice president for Diabetes Care, said in an interview that scale is a “huge part” of the company’s strategy for its glucose monitors. “When you’re making disposable diagnostic products, the more you can make, the lower the cost you can produce them at.”

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