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More treatment options for Kiwis with type 1 diabetes

Media Release EMBARGOED UNTIL 12:01am, Thursday 17 January 2013

More treatment options for Kiwis with type 1 diabetes now funded

Medtronic insulin pumps and insulin pump consumables now available through PHARMAC

New Zealand diabetes specialists and people with type 1 diabetes have today welcomed the availability of a second supplier to PHARMAC for insulin pumps and insulin pump consumables, citing the availability for choice of device technologies as a significant step forward in improving management of the condition in New Zealand.

Commenting on the addition of Medtronic insulin pumps and insulin pump consumables through PHARMAC, Associate Professor Paul Hofman said: “It cannot be assumed that even though people are diagnosed with the same health condition that one specific device will give everyone the best health outcomes – health management is not a ‘one size fits all’ option. The addition of a second supplier to PHARMAC means that people with type 1 diabetes who qualify for an insulin pump can decide on an option that is most appropriate for their needs."

The MiniMed Paradigm™ Insulin Pump Model 522 or 722 now reimbursed by PHARMAC, provides REALTime glucose readings updated every five minutes, 24 hours a day. These readings help patients take immediate action in the management of their diabetes, reducing the severity and duration of hypo and hyperglycaemiai, ii, iii,iv and protect against longterm health complications associated with these conditions such as eye, heart and kidney disease.v,vi The pump also enables more precise dosing of insulin. This is an important consideration for many people with type 1 diabetes, especially young children, who require small, frequent doses of insulin which are impractical and virtually impossible to deliver via an injection.

“The decision by PHARMAC is a positive step forward in encouraging insulin pump use in New Zealand and I hope it prompts children, families and adults with type 1 diabetes to discuss this therapy option with their general practioners or diabetes team specialists,” said Assoc Prof Hofman “An insulin pump may be the right choice for anyone who takes insulin and wants better glucose control, more convenience and more flexibility to improve their quality of life."

Research shows that people on insulin pump therapy are six times more likely to achieve the target HbA1c (Glycated Haemoglobin) level than people on multiple daily injections with long acting insulin. This is important given that people with diabetes who keep their glucose at nearnormal levels significantly reduce their risk of longterm complications to live healthier and longer.

For patients who have previously purchased a Medtronic pump at their own cost, the decision now means they can access reservoirs and infusion sets that work in conjunction with their pump to delivery therapy, through pharmacies at no charge.

Amy DaneshClough, parent of 11 year old Jonnie, who has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes for ten years and currently uses an insulin pump, believes the funding is a step forward in bringing New Zealand in line with the rest of the world – but still there is a long way to go.

“We have attended family camps for children with type 1 diabetes overseas where 95 per cent of the children have an insulin pump to manage their diabetes and only a small number use multiple daily injections. I believe the reverse is true in New Zealand, largely due to the cost of accessing the therapy.

“While we have paid for an insulin pump ourselves, funding for the ongoing consumables will be a great saving for us and I hope will enable more people with type 1 diabetes to access this therapy."

People who meet the PHARMAC eligibility criteria and are approved, will have access to fully funded Medtronic pumps and consumables via pharmacies. For full details on the criteria please visit


i Bode BW, et al. Diabetes Research and Clin Practice.1999;46:18390.

ii Kaufman FR, et al. DiabetesCare. 2001;24(12):2030.

iii Ludvigsson J, et al. Pediatrics. 2003;111(5 Pt 1):9338.

iv Bode B, et al. Diabetes Technol Ther.2004;6(2):10513.

v Australian Type 1 Diabetes Research Agenda, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Sydney, 2010.

vi Australian Healthcare Associates Final Report: Insulin Pump Review, 2008.

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