9 Aug 2012

One firm to supply key diabetic equipment

4:45 am on 9 August 2012

Pharmac is going ahead with a contentious plan to have a sole supplier of key equipment used by thousands of diabetics.

It means instead of funding six different products for assessing blood-glucose levels, Pharmac will fund three from a single Korean firm, saving $10 million a year.

The plan, announced earlier this year, upset diabetics who said it was risky and would be hugely disruptive.

Pharmac says it has listened and altered its plan to help address the main concerns.

The State drug agency says it will fund three blood-glucose meters, two of them new, and two testing strips made by a Korean firm, CareSens, and supplied by Pharmaco.

It will also pay about $4 million a year to fund an insulin pump for 800 patients, the first time the device has been funded in this country.

Pharmac says it will make sure those with diabetes get training on how to use new monitoring equipment.

Chief executive Steffan Crausaz says there will be training for health professionals and people with diabetes in how to use the newly-funded meters.