(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

West Kelowna Warriors look for 2nd win in Merritt

The Warriors’ hope to improve their 1-4 start to the season Friday night

Kelowna police officer cleared in cyclist collision

Police officer was off-duty when he hit cyclist who had used heroin earlier in the evening

Prospera and Westminster credit unions approved for proposed merger

Abbotsford- and Surrey-based companies now take matter to membership vote

End of summer celebration taking over popular Kelowna brewery

BNA Brewing hosts the Summer End event Sunday

Christopher Raymond Derickson elected new chief of Westbank First Nation

Westbank First Nation members elected Derickson Thursday night

VIDEO: B.C.’s famous cat Grandpa Mason has died

The story of the feral cat that started fostering kittens touched people around the world

RDOS to study sites for composting facility

Penticton and Okanagan Falls landfills will be examined

Trudeau seeks meeting with Singh to apologize for blackface, brownface photos

‘I will be apologizing to him personally as a racialized Canadian,’ Trudeau said Friday

Shuswap elementary school suspends operations due to ‘musty odour’

Arrangements made for affected Sicamous students to attend class in three other schools

Summerland grocery store offers warm atmosphere, community service

Nesters Market has been involved in numerous initiatives within Summerland

Charges stayed against Alberta RCMP officer in alleged off-duty Whistler assault

Const. Vernon Hagen instead completed an alternative measures program

Codling moths remain a problem for Okanagan apple growers

Problem areas for pest include Summerland, Penticton and Naramata

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen works to control mosquito populations

Control efforts in the region have been starting earlier each year

PAW Patrol Live! adds third Penticton show due to pup-ular demand

Fans can now see the heroic pooches at three different showtimes at the SOEC

Most Read