3000 submissions received on diabetes test strips and meters

Press Release – PHARMAC

March 15, 2012 Media release 3000 submissions received on diabetes test strips and meters consultation PHARMAC’s consultation on the proposal to change to a sole supplier of blood glucose testing strips and meters has ended with over 3000 submissions …March 15, 2012

Media release

3000 submissions received on diabetes test strips and meters consultation

PHARMAC’s consultation on the proposal to change to a sole supplier of blood glucose testing strips and meters has ended with over 3000 submissions received.

PHARMAC has been seeking feedback on a proposal to move from six brands of meters and strips to fund three meters and strips from one supplier. The number of patients with diabetes eligible for funded meters and test strips would also increase slightly.

During consultation, PHARMAC issued letters to interested groups and invited written feedback. PHARMAC also held public meetings to hear people’s views face to face. Meetings were held in Auckland (2), Wellington, Porirua and Christchurch and PHARMAC staff attended a further patient-organised meeting in Auckland.

Acting Chief Executive Steffan Crausaz says: “PHARMAC wants to ensure that people with diabetes have access to accurate and useable meters. If PHARMAC can do that and release $10 million per year to invest in other healthcare, it’s something we have to look at it.”

“We also want to be aware of all issues and concerns before we decide on any change, that’s why PHARMAC has been proactive in seeking community views at local meetings.

“The role of consultation is to draw out issues that are important to those people who would be affected by a proposal so that we can consider issues during the decision making process. We are really grateful for the time and effort people have put into their responses.”

PHARMAC is now carefully working through all the written feedback, however some of the issues and concerns raised at public meetings have included:

• Reduction in choice of funded meters.
• Features of the proposed meters and strips (including the operating temperature, the software packages, backlighting for night-time use, the size and the expiry date of strips).
• Country of manufacture.
• The need for training and support for people who use the meters and for health professionals.
• The resources needed to facilitate a change in meters.
• Security of supply.

“It’s important to emphasise that no decision has been made and that the responses we have received are an important part of the information we need to decide whether to progress with it, or otherwise how to change it. We’re now going to take some time to carefully work through the detail of the feedback we have received,” Steffan Crausaz says.

He says that as PHARMAC works through the responses, it will be considering what additional information is needed from diabetes groups, clinicians and patients.

“PHARMAC’s timeline for making a decision will be led by the need to consider and respond to the issues raised,” adds Steffan Crausaz.

ENDS

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