Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Top 3 things you need to know about the new Blood Glucose Meters starting 1st Sept 2012

Courtesy of 

Oh Pharmac how we love you changing the funding list like we change our undies.

This change, starting 1st of Sept 2012 however, is not at all minor. Based on the fax notification from Pharmac, there will be three new listings for the meters. Here are 3 things you need to know about this change.

(1) LCD back light for testing at night (CareSens N POP, see picture above)

(2) Manual and automatic coding. You know how when you use the Accu-Chek meter you have to insert a new chip into the meter every time you start a new box of test strips? (you should know!) Well, the CareSens II requires you to manually enter in the code every time you open a new box of strips whilst the other two better looking meters do that automatically.

(3) Patients who are already on Accu-Chek meters will continue to be able to receive strips fully funded until 1st March 2013 although it makes sense to start newly diagnosed patients on these new meters.

Wouldn't it be helpful if there was a side by side comparison of those meters? Well, click away!

Bear in mind though that the last meter in that chart (CareSens POP) didn't appear in Pharmac's fax notification as a new listing so I am not sure if that will be one of the options.

UPDATE: Pharmacists can switch people who are on old meters without a prescription. Every pharmacy should've received a prescription look-alike pad named "Pharmacist Claiming of Blood Glucose Diagnostic Test Meters". Process that as you would a prescription and Toniq has assured me that it will adjust it automatically so that no co-payment will come up.

Disclaimer: While every care has been taken to ensure this post is free from error, I do not warrant its accuracy as I am not an omnipotent and omniscient make-believe. Oh, and also Pharmac changes its mind faster than I can count to 90 tabs.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

The Endless Phone Loop

How many operators does it take to put someone through to the right number? Two, apparently.

I had to call Novartis today as I discovered a colleague had left out, not one, but *two* Sandostatin LAR 20mg injections on the shelf, in room temperature, for what looks like a full 48 hours. The two fridge item injections have a total cost of about NZD $5600 excluding GST.

Not knowing its stability, I called (datasheet had nothing). Initially I followed the telephone prompt (press 1 for blah blah) and reached Medicine Information. I was straight away met by a voice mail (with an Australian accent) that kindly informed me that no one is at the desk so I should leave a message.

The patient is waiting at the counter so leaving a message is a no go. I called again to go to the operator.

"Hi, I need some urgent info about one of your pharmaceuticals and I have already tried Med Info without much success"

"sure, I'll put you through to someone in NZ so they can help"

ring ring

"Hi, is this fire or emergency?"

"err, I think I was put through to you by mistake."

"no fire or emergency?"


"good"  #click

Called back again and behold mother jesus I am talking to the same operator.

"Hi, I think you put me through to 111 or some sort of emergency line" (hey, Screw.You.)

"oh really? sorry, let me try again." (Am I going to get "fire or emergency" again? Lets hope not.)

"Hi there Carolyn speaking, how can I help?" (That's more like it)

"Hi I just need to know how long can Sandostatin LAR stay out of the fridge?"

"Umm is this a human product?" (say what?)


"Sorry, you've actually come through to the animal division"

"That's great, please put me back to the operator"

"Hi there, Sauvignon Blanc speaking" A different operator. Not her real name but at this point I no longer care.

"Hi there, one of your colleagues put me through to the animal division for information regarding to a human product, can I please just speak to someone that can look up some info for me."

"Sorry about that, I am gonna take a short cut and put you through" (does that mean I get to talk to the big dog now?"

#and finally had a civilised discussion about pharmaceutical stability# For those of you who are interested, it is stable for 2 weeks out of the fridge at a temperature of less than 30ÂșC, at which point it has an expiry of 6 months

Moral of the story? Keep fridge items #gasp# in the fridge. Cause if you don't, a cute kitten is killed, by me, to eat, just to teach you a lesson.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

3 things to take away from these amazing 3D Olympic visualisations

An Olympic Special today as it has nothing to do with drugs.

The New York Times has constructed the following eye-opening visualisations by comparing all 116 years of Olympic athletes in 100m Sprint, 100m Freestyle and Long Jump.

Just some of the facts to take home:

(1) The fastest 16yo sprinter in America today can win a Bronze in 1980.

(2) 100m Freestyle was held in open waters in 1896 and 1906.

(3) Long jump results is still relatively the same (unlike the other two sports that gained improvement over time) with Bob Beamon's 1968 record still holding strong even against today's athletes.