PHARMAC considering funding life-changing type 2 diabetes medication

PHARMAC is currently looking at funding two life-changing medications for Kiwis with type 2 diabetes.

Around 250,000 New Zealanders have diabetes, but advocates say the current treatments are third-world.

On Wednesday PHARMAC announced the medications Jardiance and Trulicity could be funded by the end of 2020 to reduce the long-term problems.

Tusi Iona has lived with type 2 diabetes for nine years and the condition has had a huge impact on his life.

"It's hard for me because my mum was diabetic as well and she passed away from not taking her medications," Iona told Newshub.

But it's made him determined to show his family he can live with it.

"Every medication is important to me, whatever my doctor says, I will do it."

Diabetes is a major public health issue which can have devastating, long-term complications.

PHARMAC is looking to fund two medications, Jardiance and Trulicity, to improve things.

Heather Verry, from Diabetes NZ, said she was pleased with the news.

"It's absolutely a step in the right direction, it's not going to satisfy everything but it's certainly a step in the right direction."

The new medications could help 50,000 Kiwis with type 2 diabetes at a high risk of heart and kidney disease. Particularly Māori, Pacific and South Asian people.

But that's just 20 percent of patients and some experts say there should be access for all.

"The rest will be left with our current, outmoded, ineffective drugs which have higher rates of side effects," Dr John Baker, from the Diabetes Foundation Aotearoa, said.

If the proposal is approved, patients could start getting access from December.