New program will help P.E.I. residents living with diabetes better manage disease

Prince Edward Island's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Prince Edward Island residents living with diabetes will soon have access to a new program aimed at helping Islanders and their health-care team better monitor their sugar levels more frequently.

The P.E.I. Glucose Sensor Program will help fund glucose sensor technology, often referred to as continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) or flash glucose monitoring systems.

Glucose sensor systems can provide glucose information every one to five minutes, as well as alerts and alarms to warn individuals if their glucose readings are too low or high -- unlike a blood glucose meter, which provides single glucose readings.

The program, which launches June 1, will give Islanders access to the technology at a reduced cost through local pharmacies.

The province says out-of-pocket costs will be based on an individual's household income and the existence of private health insurance.

“With this technology, Islanders living with diabetes can gain valuable insight about their glucose levels, rate, and direction of change, allowing them to better manage their diabetes,” said Martha St. Pierre, the provincial diabetes clinical leader at Health PEI.

“This will give Islanders living with diabetes the ability to closely manage their glucose levels, ensuring a greater quality of life.”

Currently, more than 15,000 Islanders are living with diabetes -- a chronic disease where the body is unable to produce or properly use the insulin it produces. Each year, an average of 860 Islanders are diagnosed with the disease.

“Thousands of Islanders live with the expense and health risks of diabetes,” said Health Minister Ernie Hudson. “By making glucose monitoring more accessible, we can help Islanders with diabetes live longer and live better with this disease.”

P.E.I. says it will be contributing $1.1 million into the new program, which it expects will support 1,300 residents who require intensive management of their diabetes.

The following glucose sensor supplies are eligible for coverage under the P.E.I. Glucose Sensor Program:

  • Freestyle Libre sensor or Freestyle Libre 2 sensor
  • Dexcom G6 sensor and transmitter
  • Medtronic Integrated Guardian or Guardian Connect CGM sensor and transmitter

“This will allow patients on an integrated insulin pump system to leverage the benefits of adaptive insulin delivery and opens the door for access to even more automated technologies in the future," said Laura Cameron, the senior director of the Diabetes Business at Medtronic Canada.

More information on the P.E.I. Glucose Sensor Program can be found online, by emailing diabetesadminofficer@ihis.org or calling 1-833-355-0538.