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D-Day for diabetics

Health Spokesperson

1 December 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT
D-Day for diabetics

Thousands of Kiwi diabetics are having to switch to using new blood glucose meters from today in a move many say will disrupt their management of what can be a life-threatening illness, but the government argues will save $10 million, Labour's Health spokesperson Maryan Street says.

"Pharmac's decision to give the contract for blood glucose meters to a sole supplier has caused considerable distress for New Zealand's 200,000 diabetics, who rely on the meters to manage their chronic illness.

"Funding for the meters ceases from today, while the test strips which supply the blood to the meter will cease to be subsidised on 1 March next year.
“The move - which means patients can only source the product from one supplier as opposed to a choice of three - is designed to save money. Pharmaco, the company contracted to provide these new meters, is rolling out some support and education but whether or not that's successful is another matter.

"The real pressure will come on 1 March. Health professionals such as pharmacists and GPs will have to be trained in the use of the new meters so they can pass that on to patients.
“And despite the fact Pharmaco is holding 'Meet your Meter' sessions for people, the big concern is that it has underestimated the resources needed to do this training and retraining job.

"This is a huge disruption for people with diabetes. We just have to hope that it doesn't turn into a 'Meet your Maker' event for any of them."

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