SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor in answering a question of a member of the press, in last week’s Council of Ministers press briefing, said that he was awaiting an official report on the issue concerning the quality of the glucose meters, the Sint Maarten Consumers Coalition (SMCC) said in a statement.
“But as far as he was informed lab tests done concluded, that the meters now provided by Medicosmetics on the request of SZV were okay!
“According to the Minister the diabetic patients were not instructed on how to use the meter. The Minister, himself being a diabetic, wanted to show himself how to use the glucose meter and promised to give some professionals to prepare an informative program to instruct the public on how to use the glucose meters.
“In the meantime, the Consumers Coalition and the consumers lawyer Cor Merx have received more complaints not only from diabetic patients, but also from experienced nurses in the field, from health care professionals! We recommend the Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor to stop blaming the diabetic patients by insinuating that they do not use or they do not know how to check their blood sugar and regulate their insulin intake. He can better take this issue serious and do not wait for worsened consequences.
“Two weeks ago, the Inspectorate of Health called us for a meeting on the issue. We provided an update on the complaints that we have received on the issue of the faulty glucose meters. The Inspectorate informed us that he was in correspondence with SZV and has requested the quality requirements, that SZV has demanded from the companies that had to bid. Our lawyer also has requested this information from SZV, but this information is still not forthcoming.
“A professional nurse of the White and Yellow Cross Foundation, an advocate for her clients in the district nursing, send us pictures from the readings she did for a couple she did this week Monday on September the 21st:
“The husband on the Freestyle Precision neo gave a reading of 118, whereas the Perfect 3 gave a reading from 206! His wife had a reading on the Freestyle of 127, whereas the Perfect 3 gave a reading of 197!
“Based on this comparison, which meter gives the correct reading of the glucose level? Based on the reading of the meters, what do patients have to do with insulin, the same action to regulate their blood sugar?
“What happens in practice is that the diabetic confronted with the higher readings will take extra medication, which gives side effects, and which actually is not needed based on the readings of the meter they were using for years!
“And the Minister of VSA wants us to believe, that the experienced users of the Freestyle meters that they have been using for years, that they do not know how to use the new Perfect 3 glucose meter?
“Do we have to believe the minister that nurses of the White and Yellow Cross do not know how to check the blood sugar of the diabetic patients and then decide on the doses of insulin they have to provide the clients??
“We are very concerned. Based on information received from the Diabetes Foundation 18% of the population are diabetic! This is more than 11.000 persons among the 61.750 registered in the Civil Registry. This is the latest update we have from the Civil registry published in the Daily Herald of last year October.
“Since September last year SZV charged one company Medicosmetics to provide all medical aid supplies to their insured clients. We have been reporting about these issues with these glucose meters since the change was brought about by SZV and not only we, but until now SZV did not provide the more than 10.000 diabetics with the strips and the meter which gives more accurate readings!
“We appeal once more to the public health officials in our country to intervene and demand from SZV and Medicosmetics to give satisfactory service and accurate solutions for diabetic consumers! Meanwhile we are preparing a court case!
“Based on the request of the Inspectorate of Health diabetic patients are hereby requested to come forward and report your readings and experience with the Consumers Coalition or with the consumers lawyer Cor Merx, so that the complaints can be structured and processed and used in court!” SMCC concludes in its statement.