British Columbians speak out about #AccessForAll in online community consultations

This past month, as part of JDRF’s #AccessforAllcampaign, British Columbians impacted by type 1 diabetes (T1D) came together with patient advocates, clinicians and elected officials to discuss the benefits of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) and flash glucose monitoring (Flash GM) devices, and the need to cover these technologies under B.C. Pharmacare. 

Nearly a dozen Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) participated in the four-part series alongside other participants, which made for a lively and engaging discussion.  

Dozens of people of all ages and backgrounds shared their personal experiences using CGM and Flash GM devices, and the power these technologies have to be not only lifesaving, but lifechanging.  

“We have the technology that allows self-driving cars, yet we are so behind in devices that can save lives.”

 Their testimonials were emotional and impactful, and reaffirmed one more time the crucial need for provincial coverage of these devices:  

Sophie Orth:  

“I was diagnosed when I was 3 years old. Throughout my life, I had the luxury of having CGM and Flash GM devices to help me manage my diabetes. But due to unforeseen circumstances, my family struggled to afford CGM and Flash GM technology which forced me to reverse back to using the finger pricking method. Now, I have to see my doctor every week which is extremely difficult for me being in my graduation year. We don’t know what to do.”  

Alyssa Florence: 

“One night, my mom couldn’t wake me up. I was pale, freezing, had a massive headache, lost my vision, and could not move. My mom brought me to the hospital and the doctor told her that every organ in my body was getting attacked by the acid in my blood. If my mom had not brought me to the ER, I don’t think I would be here to tell you this story. All it takes is a CGM device to avoid all this. We have the technology that allows self-driving cars, yet we are so behind in devices that can save lives.” 

Lisa Macdonell:  

“CGM costs me $300 a month which adds up to $8000 a year to manage my diabetes. I am retired and struggling to afford CGM. My body doesn’t tell me when I’m low, so without CGM, I’m unable to participate in normal activities such as hiking or driving. I pay for CGM out of pocket because it’s a necessary device to keep me alive. The CGM alerts allow me to sleep through the night and feel safe.” 

Miguel Alvarez:  

“Living with T1D, no two days are the same and it’s a relentless condition that you have to monitor day and night, for the rest of your life. Reflecting on my past 51 years with this disease, CGM has been the most significant improvement to my treatment. CGM is not only a game-changer to help me manage my disease, but it helps practitioners make better-informed decisions with accurate data. I am lucky enough to get good coverage from my employer to cut costs, but how can it be that only those who can afford it live a better life? The benefits are clear and it’s time to do something about it.”   

What’s next? 

Access for All, our campaign to make CGM and Flash GM affordable and accessible for everyone living with T1D, is ramping up in British Columbia. Currently, neither CGM nor Flash GM are covered under B.C. Pharmacare. The B.C. government has been studying reimbursement for these devices and Minister of Health Adrian Dix has in the past suggested that coverage could be coming this year. We will keep you updated on the progress of this campaign.  

If you haven’t already done so, please write to your MLA and tell them Canadians need access to Flash GMs and CGMs. Sophie, Alyssa, Lisa, Miguel and thousands more Canadians living with type 1 diabetes need your help to live easier, healthier, safer lives. 

Take a few minutes and send them a message now then share this action with family and friends. 
Contact your provincial representative today.

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