Monday, May 23, 2016

New medication for diabetes effective, but needs subsidy as it is costly: An appeal to The Ministry of Health , Singapore

It is cause for concern that the number of people who have diabetes has risen to 670,000 today and this figure is expected to climb higher by 2030 (“Diabetes by numbers”, The New Paper, April 26). 

Given the worrying trend that one in nine people here have diabetes, with cost amounting to a staggering one $1 billion annually, it is most helpful that the media, in collaboration with the Health Promotion Board (HPB) and the Ministry of Health is raising more awareness on this chronic illness.

While mixing our white rice with twenty percent brown rice as recommended by the HPB will help to better manage the condition, those who are long term treatment will have little or no choice but to take oral medications.  Then there will be patients who may require insulin injections when they have type 2 diabetes to keep the blood sugar level under control.

There is a new medication that recently came out in the market which can effectively better manage diabetes and it has proven useful for me as I have had this condition for twenty years.  However this medication Januvia 50mg (sitagliptin) is expensive as it is a non-standard drug. Costing $2.75 per tablet, it works out to $82.50 for a month’s supply.  For senior citizens who do not have a monthly income, it is can eat a big hole in their pockets.

With the government’s on-going efforts to provide more support for our elderly folk, I urge the Ministry of Health to rank this medication as standard so that once it is subsided; patients can benefit and be well positioned to contain their diabetes.

This letter has been published in the Malaya Chronicles:


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