Continuous Glucose Monitoring: The Fight for Coverage
Patient Perspective Insulin administration and accurate blood sugar measurements are key for type 1 diabetics, however, some of the best tools are also among the most expensive.
The realities of living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) can create incredible amounts of stress and negatively impact one’s quality of life.
“My son Max was diagnosed seven years ago at the age of 2. We went from having an infant who was doing well to having an infant with a chronic, incurable disease,” says Stéphane Lagrange, father of a child with T1D. “The challenge with type 1 diabetes is management of food and insulin injections. We went from busy, somewhat carefree parents to all of a sudden having to be a nutritionist and nurse – injecting insulin, counting carbs and managing a chronic illness for a very young child.”
Despite this constant attention, people with T1D still run the risk of dangerously high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) which can lead to numerous complications, or dangerously low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) which can result in a coma or death.
Stéphane and Max Lagrange
When it comes to managing T1D, the administration of insulin and maintaining a constant and accurate measurement of blood sugar are most important. Advanced glucose monitoring technologies, like continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) and flash glucose monitors (FGMs), significantly improve the ability of those with T1D to accurately measure blood sugar.
”Ultimately the big concerns are how do we keep Max’s blood sugar in range and how do we anticipate when he might be low or becoming too high. Addressing these concerns translates into several finger-pricks to check his blood sugar, as many as 12 to 14 times a day, but with the CGM this is now much less and we can monitor his blood sugar remotely.”
CGMs and FGMs seem to be one of the best diabetes management options available, but why do so few use them? The answer may not shock you.
The per-person cost of an advanced glucose monitor can range from approximately $2500 to $8000 per year, depending on the type of monitor (CGM vs. FGM), the type of device and the method of insulin delivery. This option of diabetes management is expensive and there are no public reimbursement options available to the tens of thousands of Quebecois living with T1D who must either pay out-of-pocket or simply go without.
“Many families struggle with managing and affording [type 1] and here is this life-changing technology that would create a big difference but they can’t access it.”
– Stéphane Lagrange
“Can you imagine a single parent having to deal with all of these things and stress, on their own? Many families struggle with managing and affording [type 1] and here is this life-changing technology that would create a big difference but they can’t access it.” says Stéphane. “Right now, people who are economically at ease are the early adopters, but that’s not enough. I’m not happy about it. I’m happy I can take care of my child, but I want all of the other families to have access to this technology.”
Through a new advocacy campaign called Access for All, JDRF and T1D Advocates are putting pressure on provincial and territorial governments, insurers and employers to make CGMs and FGMs affordable by explaining why it’s important that they are made accessible for all.
“These devices represent the next level of the latest evolution in managing type 1 diabetes, reducing overall blood sugar and helping people avoid the dangerous lows and highs that can send you to the hospital, or worse,” Maarika Paul, Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial and Operations Officer at the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and mother of a child with type 1 diabetes said.
“For children, adults and their families living with type 1 diabetes, it removes much of the fear and anxiety out of living with this disease. For the province, it means savings for our health care system as it will reduce trips to the emergency room, days in hospital and visits to the doctor or endocrinologist.”
You can support tens of thousands of Quebecois and hundreds of thousands of Canadians as they fight for the ability to safely manage their disease in the best way possible.
Lend your voice to this campaign and help get #AccessForAll.