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Diabetes NZ Applauds Pharmac As New Zealand Moves One Step Closer To Funding Lifesaving Technology

Diabetes New Zealand is applauding Pharmac for taking the next step in the journey towards funding lifesaving continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) technology for New Zealanders living with diabetes.

Today, Pharmac issued a formal request to suppliers to submit proposals on CGM technology, which Diabetes New Zealand CEO Heather Verry says is a milestone moment in the procurement process.

“We are delighted to see that Pharmac has today issued an RFP for the purchase of CGMs. We have been on this journey advocating for CGM funding for over five years, and it is very exciting to see funded CGM technology move closer to being a reality for Kiwis,” she says.

“We know that CGM technology is both lifesaving and lifechanging for people living with diabetes, and New Zealand is one of the only countries in the OECD that does not fund CGMs for people with diabetes who are insulin dependent. It’s time for us to put in place what is a necessary standard of care for people with diabetes.”

“Glucose monitoring is one of the most difficult and intrusive parts of living with diabetes. CGM technology offers people with diabetes less painful and less disruptive ways of monitoring blood glucose levels, as well as reducing the risk of developing diabetes-related complications that can lead to blindness, amputations, kidney and heart disease.

A CGM is a small sensor worn on the body that measures glucose in real time throughout the day and night. The device saves lives by alerting when blood glucose levels are dangerously low or high, which is a serious concern especially for the type 1 community.

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Verry says funding of CGM technology will promote equitable health outcomes for Māori, Pacific, and low-income New Zealanders.

“Multiple studies show that people living with diabetes have a lower life expectancy than those without diabetes. The health outcomes are even worse for Māori and Pacific people living with diabetes, where the incidence is higher and so is the rate of complications,” she says.

“While anyone using a CGM describes the technology as life changing, costs start from $50 per week, which many can’t afford. Funding CGM technology is a significant step forward in addressing inequity for New Zealanders dependent on insulin.

“We are pleased to be working with Pharmac throughout the procurement process, with a view to funding CGM technology that promotes patient choice and accommodates individual lifestyle, clinical and treatment needs for better health outcomes for New Zealanders living with diabetes.”

Diabetes New Zealand has worked hard to champion this cause over many years, including presenting a petition to Parliament in 2019, making their case for funding in front of the Health Select Committee in 2021 and more recently through a social media campaign #CGMforAll.

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