December 21, 2020
New diabetes drugs will help Maori
The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners says PHARMAC’s decision to highlight Māori and Pasifika in its criteria for funding two new diabetes medications is a win for equity.
Its medical director, Bryan Betty, says the college and its Māori representative group, Te Akoranga a Māui, had pushed for empagliflozin (Jardiance) and dulaglutide (Trulicity) to be added for the management of Type 2 diabetes.
There are 220,000 New Zealanders living with the disease, which consumes an estimated 11 per cent of the health budget each year.
Māori are affected three times as often as Pākehā patients, and Pacific people five times as often.
Unlike previous drugs the new medications typically lead to weight loss, do not cause hypoglycemia or low blood sugar, and protect against cardiovascular and renal disease independently of their effects on glucose levels.
Dr Betty says Māori and Pasifika patients are seven to 12 times more likely to progress to end-stage renal failure compared with Europeans.
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