(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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

’We’ve been dealing with racism all our lives,’ says family of Tla-o-qui-aht woman fatally shot by police

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

What recycling goes where in the ACRD? There’s going to be an app for that

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District hopes residents will use app once it’s developed

Vancouver Island’s current COVID-19 case count officially hits zero

Of the 130 recorded Island Health cases, five people have died, 125 recovered

Alberni Valley, West Coast First Nations gather to remember woman fatally shot by police

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council requests an independent investigation

Kitchen fire sends one to hospital in Port Alberni

Apartment block evacuated after sprinkler system was set off

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Most Read