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Diabetes Decision Set To Be A Disaster

Health Spokesperson
8 August 2012 Media Statement

Diabetes Decision Set To Be A Disaster

Pharmac has embarked on a dangerous course in order to save $10 million, presumably at the instruction of the government, with its decision to contract a sole supplier to provide new meters to diabetics, Labour’s Health spokesperson Maryan Street says.

“It will mean thousands of people will have to switch to new glucose blood meters, disrupting their current management of what can be a life-threatening illness.

“When consultation meetings were held around the country – at short notice and inconveniently – those people able to attend were furious and bewildered at why something which wasn’t broken needed to be fixed.

“While it’s somewhat reassuring that the manufacturers of the meters have now provided a better meter than the one they tendered for - after hearing the complaints from users that the meter on offer had nowhere near the specifications they were used to - the danger of having a sole supplier has still not been addressed.

“Pharmac makes a big deal of the fact that diabetics will have a choice of three meters under this new regime. They had a similar choice under the previous one.

“What Pharmac’s spin can’t hide is the impact that changing a meter will have on those whose lives depend on it.

“Let’s see the supplier, Pharmaco, rise to the challenge of providing full after-sales service, free replacement batteries on request, and education and training for those for whom English is a second language.

“They should keep in mind the Pacific Island community worker in Porirua who was in tears at the prospect of teaching some of the families she works with how to use a new meter and how to get help if she is not around at the moment they need it.

“If this is Tony Ryall’s idea of efficiencies in the health sector, he needs to be ready for the repercussions,” said Maryan Street.


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