End to postcode prescribing for insulin pumps on the horizon

Press Release – PHARMAC

With less than a week remaining, PHARMAC is keen to hear the public’s views on its proposal to fund insulin pumps. PHARMAC is proposing to fully fund insulin pumps and consumables supplied by New Zealand Medical and Scientific from 1 June 2012.13 March 2012

End to postcode prescribing for insulin pumps on the horizon

With less than a week remaining, PHARMAC is keen to hear the public’s views on its proposal to fund insulin pumps.

PHARMAC is proposing to fully fund insulin pumps and consumables supplied by New Zealand Medical and Scientific from 1 June 2012. If the decision to fund pumps goes ahead, it will be the first time insulin pumps are subsidised on a consistent nationwide basis.

Acting Chief Executive Steffan Crausaz says: “Some District Health Boards are funding insulin pumps, while others are not. And while there is some access, there are currently inconsistent criteria being applied and a range of products being used.

“This proposal, if it’s implemented, would see an end to this postcode prescribing for insulin pumps. Subsidised access to insulin pumps and consumables would be consistent across the country.”

Insulin pumps are a delivery device for people with Type 1 diabetes that enables the dosage of insulin to be closely regulated. As well as variable funded access across District Health Boards, some people choose to privately purchase insulin pumps, which Steffan Crausaz says many people have been privately purchasing at a cost of up to $7500 per pump, and a further $2000 a year for consumables.

Following advice from its clinical advisory committees, PHARMAC proposes targeting funded access to insulin pumps to people with the greatest health need. This would largely be people who have been treated for diabetes but still have difficulty controlling their blood sugar levels.

If the proposal proceeds people currently using insulin pumps would have access to PHARMAC funded consumables, provided they met the entry criteria. The initial pump proposed is the Animas 2020 and it is possible that a further pump may be listed in the future.

“These are expensive devices and we need to ensure that if we do fund them they are used cost-effectively. This means thinking carefully about the people who most need them to manage their diabetes, and who are being closely monitored by diabetes management teams,” says Steffan Crausaz.

Consultation on the funding proposal ends 16 March. Consultation responses can be sent to diabetesfeedback@pharmacgovt.nz.

ENDS

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