Hungarian diabetics who fail to stick to their diet will be deprived of more modern treatments from July, under a government decree published aimed at cutting health spending.
Diabetics undergo a blood test on average every three months and those who score high levels of glycaemia more than twice a year could be turned away from treatments with analog insulin – more efficient but also more expensive – and left with the less efficient human insulin, under the new rules.
Currently, all diabetes treatments are subsidised by the state, which hopes to reduce health spending with the new rules.
The decree does not however apply to children under 18 and those in a life-threatening condition.
Few patients able to control their diet
According to the decree in the Official Journal, drugs for Hungary's 500,000 diabetics cost some $131.7 million every year.
"Taxpayers' money should not be spent on patients who don't cooperate with their doctor," it said.
Laszlo Bene, head of the diabetes department at Budapest's Peterfy Sandor hospital, warned however that the short-term gains would be coupled with long-term financial pain caused by future spending on treating secondary effects that might follow the use of human insulin.
"Only 30% of patients are able to control their diet."
Discipline not the factor
"Discipline is not the only factor but also the lack of money for good quality foods," he told the daily Nepszabadsag.
The national diabetes society backed the decree however.
"The analog insulin treatment should be used only for those who cannot achieve correct blood sugar levels... by other treatments," the society's president Gabor Winkler told Hungarian news agency MTI.
(Sapa, April 2012)
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