Diabetes Canada welcomes Health Minister Adrian Dix’s announcement that British Columbians aged two years and older living with diabetes who meet special authority criteria will now have access to the Dexcom G6, a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) through BC PharmaCare.
“We applaud the government’s important step forward in providing coverage for the Dexcom G6 and recognizing the many challenges British Columbians living with diabetes face with glycemic management,” says Joan King, Director of Government Relations, West for Diabetes Canada. “That being said, we are concerned with the lack of patient choice based on individual needs and urge the government to expand their funding to include all CGM and Flash GM devices approved in Canada.”
The funding of glucose monitoring devices is in line with Diabetes Canada’s Clinical Practice Guidelines, which recommends people with diabetes who would derive clinical benefit from them should have access to improve glycemic management and prevent life-threatening emergencies. These devices give people with diabetes a more complete picture of their blood sugar management than the moment-in-time snapshot that comes from intermittent finger-prick testing and can therefore lead to better short- and long-term treatment decisions and health outcomes.
As this year marks a pivotal time in diabetes history—the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin—Diabetes Canada is hopeful the government will build on next steps as soon as possible.
“I am beyond thrilled that so many people with type 1 diabetes—including my son—will benefit from this announcement. But unfortunately, some people, including one of my friends, will be left behind because their insulin pump is not compatible with this CGM. This means they will either be forced to continue paying for their CGM out of pocket until they are eligible for a new pump or will need to pay thousands of dollars for a new compatible insulin pump," says Nadine Pedersen, diabetes advocate. “Type 1 diabetes management is complex, and these devices do the work of an organ, so it's important that people have the option to choose the management system that works best for them.”
In British Columbia, there are more than 1.6M people living with diabetes or prediabetes and prevalence is predicted to increase to more than 1.9M in just 10 years. Diabetes also costs the B.C. health-care system $546 million, rising to $717 million by 2031. Eighty per cent of the costs of diabetes are related to caring for its complications, including kidney failure, stroke, heart attack, blindness and limb amputation. Glucose monitoring devices improve health outcomes and can save the health-care system millions of dollars by preventing diabetes complications.
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