The decision to go with a single provider of blood sugar meters has eroded choice for the 120,000 people using meters, says Diabetes New Zealand.

Deborah Connor, the president of Diabetes New Zealand, said it was disappointed with Pharmac’s decision, announced yesterday, to sign-up to a single provider deal and fund only four CareSens meters and stop funding other meters.

“People with diabetes, particularly those with Type 1 diabetes, have been clear about the desire and need for choice and this decision has completely eroded this.”

She said although Diabetes NZ understood Pharmac’s decision-making process, it strongly believed that the savings of $10 million over five years should go towards fully-funded continuous glucose meter systems (CGMS), in the first instance for all people with Type 1 diabetes. The saved money should also be used to introduce and fund the new diabetes medicines approved by the Pharmacology and Therapeutics Advisory Committee, she believed.

“It would be unsatisfactory if the savings made by limiting meter choice to sole supply are not reinvested in improving the lives of people with diabetes.”

Pharmac announced yesterday it had negotiated a sole supplier agreement with Pharmco to supply four fully-funded CareSens meters – two of them not currently funded. Also from August 1 it will stop funding the Freestyle Optimum and Accu-Check Performa meters and test strips currently used by about 3000 people.

The consultation feedback published on Pharmac’s website showed it had a number of submissions concerned about technical issues with the CareSens meters, the removal of choice and the need to fund CGMS.


  1. Thanks for supporting PWD in this crazy PHARMAC decision to only fund 4 CareSens meters. At present I am funded to use Freestyle Optium and want to continue using this as it is the only meter that I can trust after receiving false readings, which lead to hyo and heart attack, while using CareSens when they were first introduced. I am only receiving the pension so can’t afford to buy my strips – I am also hypo-unaware after 61 yrs.of Type 1, so require a BG meter that I can trust – CareSens cannot supply this to me. Are you able to suggest what i can do please? Thanks.

    • Thanks for your comment and question. I think your first port-of-call will be to talk to your diabetes doctor, NP and/or nurse. Pharmac has indicated it will be considering extending funding in special cases. It says on the website: “PHARMAC will be talking with diabetes healthcare professionals over the next few months to finalise the criteria and a process to allow some people, who have specific clinical circumstances, to maintain funded access to their existing meter and test strips. We intend to release further information regarding this process before April 2018.” Maybe also contact Diabetes New Zealand.


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