100,000 people now with new meters

Media release Medicines

The change to new blood glucose testing meters has been completed, with more than 100,000 people picking up the new meters.

PHARMAC began changing subsidies to the CareSens range of meters in September 2012. This followed a competitive process and assessment of the meters that led to PHARMAC subsidising three meters from the CareSens range. From 1 March 2013, only the CareSens range of meters and strips have been subsidised, except for some patients who were previously using the Optium Exceed meter to test blood ketones.

Chief Executive Steffan Crausaz says that virtually all eligible patients now have the new meters.

“The change to the CareSens meters began nearly a year ago and we have now seen about 100,000 people pick up one of the new meters. That’s roughly equivalent to the populations of Napier and Nelson combined,” says Steffan Crausaz.

“It has been a very large-scale change and I would like to thank the health professionals, diabetes groups and support services who have helped people to adjust.”

“We recognise that changing meters has been challenging for some patients, including understanding the differences between readings from their old meters.”

“We will continue to monitor the situation closely, and review and follow up issues as they arise.

“While the change process is now complete, support services will remain in place to enable people to adjust. This includes information being available for prescribers, diabetes nurses, pharmacists and patients, and 0800 numbers run by both PHARMAC and Pharmaco, the supplier of CareSens meters. These numbers are 0800 GLUCOSE (0800 458 2673), or PHARMAC on 0800 66 00 50.

“And if people’s clinical circumstances mean that they are unable to use the meters, PHARMAC has mechanisms in place to provide funded alternatives for them.”

The accuracy of CareSens meters had been tested internationally and in New Zealand and the meters meet internationally-required standards. Of the more than 100,000 meters that have been distributed, about 300 have been returned to the supplier because of concerns about their performance. Consistent with other portable consumer electronic devices, faults included cracked screens, battery covers coming off and other minor technical faults. None of those subject to further testing were found to measure blood glucose incorrectly.

Steffan Crausaz says that if people experience clinical issues related to the meters, these should be reported to Medsafe. To date, Medsafe has received 38 incident reports.  Of these 26 have had their investigations completed and none of these indicated that the meters were faulty in reading blood glucose levels.

Steffan Crausaz says PHARMAC encourages people to talk to their healthcare professionals about any aspect of managing their diabetes, including use of the meters and understanding different test results.