with type 1 diabetes can be stressful for young children and their families.
Providing insulin pumps can help alleviate that stress for B.C. kids and ensure
they grow up to be healthy adults,” said Premier Campbell, who attended an event at Bayview Elementary in
There are approximately 2,200
children with type 1 diabetes in
As of Nov. 17, 2008, endocrinologists and pediatricians can apply for insulin pump coverage for their patients, aged 18 and under, through the Province’s special authority process. An insulin pump can benefit young patients who have difficulty managing their disease via other methods. Use of the pump removes the need for the current process of multiple daily injections. It allows for more accurate delivery of insulin throughout the day and night, and can help to reduce the chances of long-term complications from the disease.
In addition, the Province will now cover the cost of insulin pump reservoirs for patients of all ages who use insulin pumps to manage their diabetes. Reservoirs are disposable, and on average, must be changed every three days. Expanding their coverage to include reservoirs will save patients with type 1 diabetes up to $700 annually.
“Even with all of the benefits covered by PharmaCare for patients with diabetes – which total about $60 million per year – out-of-pocket expenses can add up,” said Abbott. “By covering insulin pumps for children and expanding coverage to insulin pump reservoirs for all patients, we are hoping to reduce the financial and emotional toll caused by this chronic disease.”
Type 1 diabetes affects the patient’s insulin production. People are typically diagnosed with type 1 diabetes by age 30 – usually in childhood or their teenage years. Its cause is unknown, and there is no cure.
“The government’s decision is welcome news for children with type 1 diabetes and their families, and we would like to thank Premier Campbell for making this fantastic commitment to the people of the province,” said Jean Blake, Pacific region executive director, Canadian Diabetes Association. “By giving families the option of using an insulin pump, you help to reduce the burden on children who suffer from this disease, and allow them to live as normal a life as possible.”
“For some children, an insulin pump is the only way they can effectively manage this disease, and in the past the cost has been prohibitive for many families,” said Dr. Daniel Metzger, a pediatric endocrinologist at BC Children’s Hospital. “This decision will make a big difference in the everyday lives of those children who suffer from this disease and meet the medical criteria for insulin pump therapy.”
PharmaCare already provides coverage for diabetes medications and supplies, including needles, syringes, and blood glucose test strips. Currently 12 effective drug therapies for treating and managing diabetes are covered by PharmaCare, five under special authority. Two additional medications are covered as partial benefits. Patients must be registered with Fair PharmaCare to have medications and supplies covered, and must meet their annual deductibles.
Through PharmaCare, the Province is spending $60 million a year on diabetes treatments – a 40 per cent increase since 2001. Overall, the direct care costs of diabetes in B.C. are estimated at over $1 billion annually.
PharmaCare is one of the most comprehensive programs in the country, and provides coverage to every British Columbian. It is one of the fastest growing areas of the health care budget. Since 2001, the PharmaCare budget has increased by more than 56 per cent – from $654 million to over $1 billion in 2007/08.
To obtain coverage, the first step is to speak to your diabetes physician specialist. If you or your child meets the medical criteria for coverage of a pump, the specialist will submit a special authority request to PharmaCare.
Office of the Premier
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health Services
250 213-9590 cell
National Media Relations
Canadian Diabetes Association
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