Revolutionary new diabetes treatment to be listed on PBS


Kiama Downs resident Peter Marrow and his wife Naomi have been on a sharp learning curve since he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes three months ago.

The 78-year-old has struggled with the treatment regime – which currently involves five injections of insulin a day as well as oral medication and constant testing.

However the listing of a revolutionary new diabetes treatment on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from next month will make treatment far easier, and cheaper.

‘’It’s been overwhelming for us with multiple injections and finger-prick blood testing each day,’’ Mrs Marrow said.

‘’It’s painful for Peter and his stomach is black and blue from all the injections.

‘’This new treatment, as we understand, will take it back to one injection a week which will be fantastic.

‘’It will give us our freedom back, as we won’t have to structure our day around Peter’s treatment.’’

Up to 20,000 Australians with Type 2 diabetes will be better able to manage their condition with the listing of Exanatide (Bydureon) on the PBS from September 1.

Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley said the move would see patients save over $1600 per year.

“As one of our most prominent chronic diseases, Type 2 diabetes is placing a significant cost on the nation’s health and finances at nearly $1 billion per year,” Ms Ley said.

‘’Subsiding innovative medicines like these makes it easier for thousands of patients to keep on top of their diabetes and better manage their medication, while not only saving them time and money, but also the health system.’’

Diabetes Australia CEO Associate Professor Greg Johnson welcomed the PBS listing.

‘’The once-a-week injection pen is much easier to use, and has less intrusion on the day-to-day lives of people with diabetes,’’ Professor Johnson said. “It surprises some people to learn that the progressive nature of Type 2 diabetes means many people with (the condition) need injectable drugs when the oral treatments don’t work sufficiently.’’

Prof Johnson said  the discovery of exenatide was an example of the unpredictable path of diabetes research.

“Rather than being an entirely new substance, Exenatide is a synthetic form of a substance found in the saliva of a lizard – the Gila Monster, native to the south western USA and parts of Mexico,” he said.

“This goes to show that some medical solutions can be found in the most unlikely places.”


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