(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

Central Okanagan schools ready to welcome students back

Students are set to go back to school next Monday, June 1

North and Central Okanagan on flood watch

Kalamalka Lake users are asked to take measure to reduce the risk… Continue reading

Okanagan-shot film “The Colour Rose” wins two cinematography awards

Locations in the Okanagan were used such as; The Casorso residence, BNA, Father Pandosy, Venture Academy and Idabel Lake Resort

Kelowna Rockets Alumni Leon Draisaitl crowned NHL scoring champ

Draisaitl captures the Art Ross Trophy with 110 points in 71 games played

Impaired drivers kept Kelowna RCMP busy last weekend

Twenty-nine separate driving prohibitions were issued by local cops over the weekend

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

Houseboat company partly owned by Shuswap MLA withdraws controversial ad

The ad welcomed houseboaters from other provinces, contradicting anti COVID-19 measures.

Partial return to class for Central Okanagan students: COVID-19

School District 23 and the Board of Education have released a letter regarding returning to class

Squabble between campers in North Shuswap leads to bear spraying

An argument over late night partying escalated into a fight which led to one person being sprayed

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Penticton may soon allow drinking alcohol in some public places

Trying to inconspicuously drink on the beach could become a thing of the past

VIDEO: Flowers stolen from Vernon distillery

Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery captured surveillance footage of the thief in a black car

Most Read