Sanofi iPhone app offers diabetics carb counting

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Sanofi-Aventis launched an iPhone application aimed at helping diabetics count calories on the go.

The free GoMeals app draws on the CalorieKing nutritional database to give carb counts for menu items at 200 chain restaurants as well as à la carte estimates for 25,000 dishes. The app's “Today's Plate” feature allows users to tally their daily caloric intake, along with the distribution of carbs, fats and proteins, as represented in a pie chart on the touch screen. Users can search by restaurant, based on current location, or by type of cuisine.  

“Say you're at TGI Friday's, and there's hidden carbs in something like gravy. This app can tell you what that carb count is,” said Lynn Crowe, senior marketing manager, metabolism at Sanofi-Aventis. “I used it last night in a Thai food restaurant to look up red curry chicken. I don't know what's in there. App to the rescue.”  

The app, developed by Kansas shop InTouch Solutions, bears the Sanofi-Aventis name but not those of any of the company's diabetes products, which include Lantus and Apidra. Sanofi-Aventis is promoting it through outreach to diabetes bloggers and tactical advertising, such as banners on diabetes sites.

“Mobile devices are where diabetes is moving,” said Crowe. “It's no different from the general patient population. We're looking at diabetes being a solution provider. It's way more complicated than just medication, and the company has made a commitment to remain focused on consumers.”

Sanofi-Aventis is using Twitter as a feedback channel for the app, since the iTunes Store allows users to post comments but doesn't afford developers any means of responding.

The company launched a YouTube channel for diabetics, dubbed GoInsulin, last February. GoInsulin has garnered over 400,000 views and allowed the company to reach beyond its traditional audience, said Crowe.

“Diabetes is relentless,” said Crowe, “the number of times of day you have to pay attention to this disease. Anything we can do to make the patient's life one iota easier, we're going to do it.”

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