(stevepb/Pixabay)

Doctor wants B.C. to join rest of Canada and fund a set of diabetes drugs

B.C. is the only province not to cover the cost of diabetes medications known as SGLT2 inhibitors

A doctor specializing in diabetes care has made it his mission to get B.C. to cover a particular set of life-saving drugs.

B.C. is the only province in Canada not to cover a class of diabetes medications known as SGLT2 inhibitors, available since 2014, that lower blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of death from heart disease.

Dr. Tom Elliott, the medical director for BC Diabetes, said the drugs would save 700 lives each year if the costs were covered.

“All these drugs are very effective diabetes drugs,” he told Black Press Media. “They lower blood sugar, but they do it in a better and safer way then other diabetes drugs in that they are not associated with low blood sugar or hypoglycemia.

“And rather then causing weight gain, they cause weight loss. Most people with diabetes are overweight, so this is a very welcomed combination.”

Patients who have had a heart attack or stroke and have taken the medication saw a 32-per-cent drop in all-cause mortality – a result Elliott called “unprecedented.”

Almost 1.5 million people in B.C. have diabetes or pre-diabetes. Patients who can afford SGLT2 inhibitors pay more than $1,000 in out of out-of-pocket expenses each year.

He said he’s discussed it with the B.C. government and PharmaCare, but said he was told there’s simply no room in the budget, though he said the money saved in fewer hospitalizations and other expenses would far outweigh the cost of the medication.

“I can’t rest until these drugs are covered.”

The health ministry has not yet provided comment.

READ MORE: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget



joti.grewal@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Grieving together, but apart: How funeral homes are handling the pandemic

‘Hugs are so important and right now hugs can’t happen’

Vancouver Island artist brightens pandemic with whimsical signs

Anna Trelford decorates her fence with signs that riff on COVID-19 pandemic

Island MLA calls for cash injection for struggling tourism sector

Michelle Stilwell also pushing for moratorium on commercial evictions

Cobble Hill man dies in ATV accident south of Nanaimo

Incident happened on backroad Friday night in Nanaimo Lakes area

PQBeat: Qualicum Beach musician, lawyer Phil Dwyer

Juno Award winner talks music legends, ‘The Ballad of Bonnie Henry’ and more

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

UPDATE: B.C.’s Central Kootenay issues evacuation orders for hundreds of residents due to flooding

An evacuation alert covers all areas except the Cities of Castelgar and Nelson

PHOTOS: Thousands gather at Vancouver Art Gallery to protest racism

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Number of students returning is a wild card as B.C. schools reopen Monday

A common model will see other teachers work four days a week in class then the fifth remotely,

Three weekly direct flights from Port Hardy to Vancouver starting June 1

Direct between Bella Bella and Vancouver not resuming at this time

Comox Valley river guardians keeping busy during COVID-19 times

Tsolum River Restoration Society memberss say young fish get stranded in the most unlikely places

Youth riding high after Sidney re-opens skate park

Skate park, tennis courts, volleyball court and multi-use court proved popular on the weekend

COVID-19: Qualicum Beach man stages concerts for charity out of his garage

Larry MacDougall says reception from neighbours has been heartening

Most Read