Diabetes medication to get shake-up
Pharmac has backed down on some changes to diabetes management products which will save the government drug-buying agency $10 million.
Changes were confirmed today by chief executive Steffan Crausaz and include limiting diabetics to three types of subsidised glucose-testing meters. It originally proposed just one meter.
However, all meters and testing strips will be sourced from Korean supplier CareSens.
Insulin pumps, which cost up to $10,000 each and an extra $3000 a year to run, will be funded nationwide for the first time.
Previously, access to pumps which inject insulin automatically varied across district health boards.
In the next five years up to 1000 people were expected to meet the Special Authority access criteria to receive a pump and necessary equipment, Mr Crausaz said.
This will cost about $4m annually and will come out of the $10m savings made by the other changes.
Mr Crausaz said the agency had ''listened and responded'' to what it heard during consultation on the original proposal.
''As a result of people's comments, we are funding a new higher-spec meter rather than an earlier model, and giving some patients the ability to continue using their existing meters and insulin pumps.
''We have sought further assurances from Pharmaco NZ Ltd, and in our contract we require them to maintain a minimum four months' supply of test strips, which will minimise the likelihood of an out of stock occurring."
Funding of the pumps and funding changes to the meters and test strips will be phased in over six months, beginning September 1.
A comprehensive nationwide meter swap and education campaign involving pharmacists, clinicians and community and consumer groups will be provided.
People will still be able to use the Accu-Chek Combo insulin pump and Freestyle Optium meters for at least five years.
Diabetes New Zealand estimates 200,000 New Zealanders are affected by diabetes.
What will be funded:
Meters: CareSens II, CareSens N, CareSens N POP and the related tests strips.
Pumps: Animas 2020 and the related equipment.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Do you always wear a helmet while cycling?Related story: Cyclists creative on cycle helmet waivers