Pharmaceutical News
NHIA starts reimbursing new long-acting insulin to help control diabetes

The control of health condition is quite poorly among diabetic patients in Taiwan.  One of the main reasons is that patients usually start the insulin treatments a bit too late.  According to experts, the timing of starting insulin treatments strongly correlates with the outcome of follow-up control of blood sugar.  However, patients in Taiwan have common misconceptions about insulin injections, causing delay in starting treatments.


 “This is a wrestling match between doctors and patients,” said Dr Hsu Hui-Heng, President of the Diabetes Association.  It is a long battle to try to persuade patients to start insulin treatments.  Some patients just refuse to receive injections.


Dr Hsu analysed patients’ misconceptions which include the rumours about the side effects of dialysis, obese, addiction, etc.  Some patients believe that starting insulin injection confirms a worsened condition; and some patients are fear of needles.  In fact, the insulin injection needles have been designed to be short and thin.  Patients almost don’t feel any pains.


It is no secret that the insulation treatment is given to patients too late in Taiwan.  Mr. Tsai Shih-Ze, President of the Formosa Diabetes Care Foundation, pointed out that, on average, a diabetic patient starts insulin treatments after 10 years of diagnosis when the HbA1c level is over 10%; and as a result, only 10% patients successfully reach the treatment target after 6 months of treatments.


In order to promptly start the insulin treatments, the NHIA announced a new regulation in May.  It stipulates: “In principle, metformin should be used with priority in treating type II diabetes. Early start of insulin treatment should also be considered.” and “Insulin treatment should be considered if patients fail to control blood sugar level after using three different oral medicines.”


Dr Hsu Hui-Heng expressed that this NHIA’s new regulation meets health professionals’ opinions.  As oral drugs have their limit, if they fail to control blood sugar, other treatment options should be considered.   Hence, in order to provide more treatment options, the NHIA approved the reimbursement of new generation long-acting insulins in August.


【2016-09-11/ United Daily news】