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PharmaCare covers new medical device for people with diabetes

Province of British Columbia
By Province of British Columbia
August 1st, 2023

People living with diabetes will benefit from BC PharmaCare’s coverage of FreeStyle Libre, a flash glucose monitor (FGM) that allows users to read their blood-sugar levels by swiping a hand-held device or smartphone over the sensor.

The FreeStyle Libre will be covered by BC PharmaCare as a limited-coverage benefit beginning Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023.

Glucose monitors enable patients or their caregivers to take action sooner, and help protect people by empowering patients, caregivers and clinicians to identify glucose trends and adjust medications, activity and food intake.

An FGM system uses an externally worn glucose sensor that is inserted under the skin of a person’s upper arm. When the sensor is “flashed” or scanned with a reader device or smartphone, it transmits the real-time glucose reading and information to the user. A sensor can be worn continuously for as many as 14 days.

Similar to the Dexcom G6, a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) covered by PharmaCare since June 2021, the FreeStyle Libre helps people living with diabetes better manage their blood-sugar levels without having to prick their finger multiple times a day to test manually. Some people may prefer how the FreeStyle Libre is applied or its reduced frequency of sensor replacement.

PharmaCare currently covers approximately 13,000 patients for the Dexcom G6. Some of these patients may switch to the FreeStyle Libre. New patients may use a FreeStyle Libre once it becomes a PharmaCare benefit.

Diabetes affects the body’s ability to regulate blood-glucose levels. The complications of poorly controlled diabetes range from acute (e.g., fatigue, ketoacidosis, seizures) to chronic (e.g., nerve and organ damage). In Canada, diabetes is the sixth-leading cause of death and the leading cause of blindness, end-stage kidney disease and non-traumatic amputation.

PharmaCare continues to improve access to the medical devices and prescription drugs that people in B.C. need. In January 2019, B.C. made a $105-million investment over three years to reduce and/or eliminate Fair PharmaCare deductibles and co-payments for British Columbians with lower incomes. 

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Categories: Health

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