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Diabetics to get Relief from Cheaper Drugs

The Federal Government’s decision to list two new drugs on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme will allow diabetics to have better access to treatment from October.//

According to Health Minister Tony Abbott long-lasting injectable insulins Levemir and Lantus will be subsidized from October 1, at a cost of $145 million over the next three years.

These drugs have several medical advantages over current subsidized treatments.

Daily injections are needed by all type-one diabetics and some type-two diabetics to control their blood sugar levels.

Presently about 210,000 Australians with type one and type two diabetes will qualify for the drugs, and about 110,000 people are expected to use them in the first year of listing.

By 2009 about 160,000 patients are expected to benefit from this with each paying $9.40 for concession card holders and non-concessional patients paying about $59 for a year's supply.

According to Donald Chisholm, professor of endocrinology at Sydney's St Vincent's Hospital, these drugs could help to bring down the number of injections for some patients because of the longer lasting effect compared to other common insulin.

Prof Chisholm said that these drugs are absorbed slowly during the 24 hours after an injection, thereby preventing a potentially dangerous peak in insulin levels as well as lowering the risk of hypoglycaemia
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