T2Diabetes You are a Priority ePanui

on 21 September


This pānui is to update you on our pioneering campaign ‘You Are a Priority’.
The campaign raises awareness about the equity based funding criteria which enables Māori and Pacific peoples to get two new diabetes medicines more easily.

Four well-known and respected Māori and Pacific personalities who either live with type 2 diabetes, or have whānau members living with the disease, are spearheading the campaign.

Our national campaign launched in August, across Māori Television, regional newspapers, social media, posters (digital) and radio. Some of the advertising was paused due to the national lockdown, but has started again. We expect this awareness campaign to draw an increase of inquiry for these funded type 2 diabetes medicines. 

As of 1 September 2021, there have been 36,103 approved Special Authority applications for empagliflozin with and without metformin. Of these applications, 47% had ticked the Māori/Pacific criteria.

The proactive inclusion of an ethnicity criterion appears to be having a positive impact. When we compare uptake with vildagliptin (a medicine funded for type 2 diabetes without Special Authority criteria), only 36% of people picking up a script for vildagliptin were Māori or Pasifika.

Click here to learn more about the campaign.

Dulaglutide is now available

Dulaglutide has Medsafe approval. 
People who meet the criteria have been able to access this medicine since 1 September 2021.

Click here for more information about Dulaglutide.

Taking an equity based funding approach

Trevor Simpson, Chief Advisor Māori for Pharmac, says this campaign is an important step forward in equity for those most affected by diabetes. Research has highlighted the devastating outcomes facing Māori and Pacific patients. Mortality rates for Māori with type 2 diabetes is seven times higher than non-Māori, and it is predicted that one in four Pacific peoples will have the disease within 20 years. 

The new equity funded Special Authority is breaking down the barriers and creating ease of access to these much-needed medicines (Empagliflozin and Dulaglutide). “It is our hope that Māori and Pacific people are encouraged to speak with their doctor to gain a greater understanding of how this policy change can help them,” says Simpson.

Click here to learn more about the funding.

Meet Makaia, Aroha, Adam and Phil

Makaia Carr (Ngāruahine)

Has nearly 180,000 people in her social network, and was motivated to spread the word of the campaign, after the impact of diabetes in her immediate whānau.

“My mum has type 2 diabetes, so I am reminded every day of this disease and how it effects our health,” says Carr.

Adam Blair (Ngāpuhi) 

One of New Zealand’s most highly decorated rugby league professionals is not a stranger to supporting the awareness of diabetes after being involved with 2020 Fitbit MoveMeant Challenge.

“A lot of my whānau got diabetes as they got older. I reckon we are a bit stubborn when it comes to asking for help, there are resources out there to help us feel better and live a healthy lifestyle,” says Blair.

Aroha Awarau (Ngāti Maru, Ngāti Porou, Niuean, Samoan) 

An award-winning journalist, film maker and playwright says,

“When I had my toe amputated because of this disease, I was filled with whakaama. My lifestyle has completely changed as a result, but I need medication as well to keep healthy.  It was a no-brainer for me to put my name to this campaign.

Phil Merritt (Ngāti Kauwhata) 

Lives locally in Tauranga Moana and well known within his community. He lives a healthy and active lifestyle in order to best manage his type 2 diabetes.

“I want every person to live their best and healthiest lifestyle, so they get to enjoy their mokopuna,” says Merritt.

Ngā uaratanga – Our values

This new campaign aligns with Pharmac’s new five central values and it is an opportunity for us to develop a clearer understanding of how to further connect with Māori and Pacific communities about future medicines as we continue to address equity issues.

Click here to learn more about our values.



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