New glucose test for diabetics could end painful pricks

New glucose test for diabetics could end painful pricks

Diabetics are calling for funding for new technology which puts an end to finger-prick blood tests.

A new device has just been distributed in Australia which will allow diabetics to test their glucose levels anytime, anywhere -- and without pain. There's also a big demand for it here.

Six-year-old Melissa van Blerk is one of the few diabetic New Zealanders lucky enough to be using the new blood glucose reading device.

She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was just two. 

This new technology means she no longer has to endure painful and inconvenient fingerpricks at least 12 times a day -- a process her mother Jacqui van Blerk says can be overwhelming.

"Eventually their hands are stippled with black marks from all the finger pricks because you're constantly looking for a new site to take that sample," she says.

Monitoring blood glucose levels is crucial for insulin-dependent diabetics.

The sensor measures glucose just under the skin, eliminating the need to draw blood. It also records results and creates graphs.

It's just been launched in Australia and is widely available in the UK.

But they come at a cost -- around $100 for the reader and $100 for the sensor, which needs replacing every two weeks.

Ms van Blerk goes to the trouble of buying it from overseas, but diabetics now want access to them here and they want them funded.

"It's just an invaluable tool for our children with diabetes," she says.

Supplier Mediray says there are plans to bring it to New Zealand in the near future.

Whether Pharmac will fund it is yet to be discussed -- but for Melissa, it's a clear winner.