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Diabetes treatment more widely available

Diabetes treatment more widely available

Government drug funder PHARMAC is giving more people the chance to have the new generation diabetes treatment pioglitazone (Actos).

The new access criteria, which further reflect PHARMAC’s commitment to giving more New Zealanders access to subsidised medicines, take effect from 1 August 2005.

Pioglitazone (Actos) was first subsidised 1 September 2004 for people with Type 2 diabetes, both as a therapy on its own or for use in combination with drugs known as sulphonylureas (such as glibenclamide).

However, some clinicians have commented that more people could potentially benefit from pioglitazone than just those specified in the original listing criteria, says PHARMAC’s Chief Executive Wayne McNee.

“We’ve taken these comments on board and our response is to widen access to give more people the opportunity to have pioglitazone prescribed,” Wayne McNee says.

“Diabetes is a disease that is of growing concern with an increase in its prevalence as people’s lifestyles change. Many people with Type 2 diabetes can control their condition through changing their lifestyle or diet, however others need medicines such as pioglitazone which can help to control their blood glucose levels.”

Pioglitazone is a medicine that improves the body’s ability to use insulin, the hormone which reduces blood glucose levels. This leads to better control of blood sugar levels and helps avoid the many complications which diabetes can cause.

Under the changes, pioglitazone will also be subsidised for some people who use insulin, and for some people in combination with metformin.

PHARMAC is anticipating spending on pioglitazone will be in the region of $4 million per annum within three years.


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