6 Mar 2012

Diabetes group upset at glucose test funding change

8:46 am on 6 March 2012

Diabetes New Zealand says a proposal to fund only one glucose test will hurt not only diabetics but the hospital system.

Drug-buying agency Pharmac is proposing to introduce a new sole supplier of blood glucose diagnostic tests, which diabetics use every day to stop the onset of hypoglycaemia. Four others will no longer be funded.

Pharmac says the proposed new test hasn't been used in New Zealand before but has been tested by the Christchurch Diabetes Service.

The agency's medical director, Peter Moody, told a meeting with the diabetic community in Auckland on Monday that the test could result in a saving of $10 million a year.

Diabetes New Zealand says having only one supplier is dangerous, particularly if stocks run out, or there's a problem and they have to be recalled.

Its general manager in Auckland, John Denton, says that once in the past, glucose meters and strips had to be recalled because of a technical fault.

Karen Foster, the national advocacy advisor for Diabetes Youth New Zealand, is worried about the potential harm to those with diabetes.

"I think people will end up having to go to hospital because their needs will not be met ... and that will be more costly than the saving to Pharmac."

Diabetes New Zealand says it is concerned the technology may not be up to scratch, and that many living with the illness will find it difficult to adjust to something new.