Diabetes :: Province expands drug coverage for diabetes patients

Patients who require long-acting insulin to manage their diabetes will benefit from PharmaCare?s coverage for the medication insulin glargine, also known as Lantus, announced Health Minister George Abbott today.

Beginning today, physicians can apply for Special Authority coverage of insulin glargine by fax or mail for patients who meet the eligibility criteria.

?It?s important for patients to properly control and manage their diabetes to prevent further complications and maintain their quality of life,? said Abbott. ?Insulin glargine will provide another treatment option for patients who require glucose control throughout the night that has not been previously achievable using other insulins.?

PharmaCare estimates that there are currently 5,000 patients in British Columbia who could be eligible for PharmaCare coverage for insulin glargine with a projected cost of $1 million annually. It is expected that the number of patients who benefit from coverage for this product will continue to grow over time.

In 2006, the Ministry of Health spent more than $53 million on diabetes medication and supplies though the PharmaCare program. Approximately 269,000 British Columbians are currently living with diabetes.

?Diabetes patients will benefit from PharmaCare?s decision to make insulin glargine available through Special Authority coverage,? said Dr. David Miller, a Victoria endocrinologist. ?It is an important option for patients who may not benefit, or have complications from, other insulin treatments.?

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