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Submission to PHARMAC on blood gluscose meters

[Attachment: Submission_from_Diabetes_Youth_Wellington.pdf]

Please find attached a copy of a submission presented to Pharmac on behalf of Diabetes Youth Wellington (DYW). Submissions closed on Wednesday March 14th but I am unaware of when a decision will be made.

More information is available here:

Basically, Pharmac is planning to bulk fund only one type of blood glucose meter and one type of insulin pump.

My submission is only in regard to the blood glucose meter (BGM) as Pharmac decided to separate the consultation process for the two items.

My main point is that type one diabetes (always insulin dependent) and type two diabetes (occasionally insulin dependent) should not be treated as requiring interchangeable treatment or equipment.

Typically, non-insulin dependent diabetics use BGMs to monitor whether their blood glucose levels are high. They typically are left somewhere in the home and used at a regular time.

Insulin-dependent diabetics use BGMs to monitor whether their blood glucose levels are low. Low blood glucose levels (a hypoglycaemic attack) can kill. Diabetics who inject insulin carry their BGMs with them everywhere they go so they need to be very sturdy to cope with this. The model that Pharmac has chosen to fund has been selected on the basis of its cheapness and it does not appear to be capable of being taken everywhere as part of a life-saving regime.

I say appears as there has been no field testing of this device.

I hope that some publicity around this can also help inform the public of the differences between these two types of diabetes. Type one is typically contracted early in life (prior to the age of 30) and, apart from a family history, there is no real understanding of how or why it develops.

But type two is by far the most common form of diabetes and this is generally accepted as being contracted by poor eating habits and not enough exercise – weight is a big factor here.

It’s understandable that the public at large doesn’t know the difference but it would be nice if well-meaning strangers stopped suggesting a change of diet could “cure” your type one diabetic child.

Finally, I must point out that DYW finds itself in an uncomfortable position taking an adversarial approach to Pharmac. We are acutely aware of the resources diabetes management requires and are extremely grateful for the support we have received from Pharmac.

But Pharmac itself acknowledges that non-insulin dependent diabetics (or their care givers – particularly in rest homes) are over-testing. DYW rejects the notion that diabetics who use BGMs as a life-saving tool should be down-graded in that tool because others are overusing it for non-life threatening reasons.

[Attachment: Submission_from_Diabetes_Youth_Wellington.pdf]

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