Insulin pumps are worn by diabetics to monitor blood glucose and replace manual injections. (Wikimedia Commons)

Insulin pumps to be covered for adult diabetics in B.C.

Over-25 patients can use device to replace injections

The B.C. government is extending Pharmacare coverage for diabetics aged 25 and up to use insulin pumps instead of relying on daily injections to stabilize their condition.

Health Minister Adrian Dix made the announcement Tuesday at Vancouver General Hospital, noting it was a promise made by Premier John Horgan in the 2017 election campaign.

The ministry expects about 830 B.C. adults will benefit from the extended health coverage, providing insulin pumps that cost between $6,000 and $7,000 and must be replaced every five years.

The pump monitors blood glucose and provides accurate insulin dosing that can allow people to have more flexibility for work and activities such as going on a hike, said Ramia Hosak, executive director of Young and T1, a volunteer organization for young adults with type one diabetes.

“Insulin pumps can also help prevent eye disease, kidney disease, amputations and a number of other complications related to diabetes,” Hosak said.

Dr. David Thompson, a diabetes specialist at Vancouver General Hospital said the availability of insulin pumps will assist pregnant women. In the meantime, he is involved in research that is seeking to cure diabetes using transplanted cells to restore the body’s ability to control blood glucose.

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