Insulin pumps should be accessible to all in need, says Islander with diabetes

Dovie Salais

A young Islander living with diabetes believes insulin pumps should be available through the provincial program to anyone who can’t afford one. Brooks Roche, who has had Type 1 diabetes for close to two decades, said the pump gives him a regular supply of insulin when he needs it — […]

A young Islander living with diabetes believes insulin pumps should be available through the provincial program to anyone who can’t afford one.

Brooks Roche, who has had Type 1 diabetes for close to two decades, said the pump gives him a regular supply of insulin when he needs it — replicating an actual pancreas.

“The benefits of this are, frankly, enormous,” he said in an interview with Island Morning host Laura Chapin.

The devices and the supplies needed, however, can cost between $5,000 and $10,000 per patient, but Roche said that’s a small investment “that would reap incredible rewards down the road and save the capacity of the provincial health-care system.”

Funding up to age 25

Previously on P.E.I., funding for pumps was only available for Islanders up to 18 years of age. In the 2020 budget, the P.E.I. government agreed to increase funding up to the age of 25, as it is in the other Atlantic provinces.

But Roche said the province should lift the age restriction altogether, as in jurisdictions such as Ontario, Alberta, B.C. and the three territories.

“This is a chance for Prince Edward Island to lead on health policy and for us to set a standard for our neighbours to follow, rather than the other way around,” he said.

Roche said his pump, which allows him to auto-administer insulin rather than injecting a syringe throughout the day multiple times, has given him a better quality of life.

‘Significantly more advanced’

“What it’s afforded me is a greater peace of mind in that this system is significantly more advanced and it allows me to not worry throughout the day. Am I going to be OK? Might I need to go to the hospital for a low or high blood sugar? Am I able to eat this with relative peace of mind? Am I able to live a life more reminiscent of those around me?” he said.

“And it has afforded me those opportunities. And I would love for that to be a universal access in this province.”

Roche said he has made his feelings known to the province. CBC has reached out to the province but has not yet received a response.

More from CBC P.E.I.

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