05/16/2012 04:36 EDT | Updated 07/16/2012 05:12 EDT

Expansion of B.C. insulin pump program would save millions, says CDA

VICTORIA - The Canadian Diabetes Association is calling on the British Columbia government to extend coverage of its insulin pump program to adults with type 1 diabetes.

Currently, B.C. only pays for the pumps for children.

Diabetes Association president Michael Cloutier says the province will save more than $5 million a year in health costs if it expands the program to cover adults because the pumps can provide better control of patients' diabetes.

Ontario, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland are the only provinces that pay for insulin pumps for adults, but in Saskatchewan and Newfoundland the funding stops when the patients reach 25.

Insulin pumps, which replace daily insulin injections, cost more than $6,000 each and require supplies that range between $3,000 and $5,000 a year.

The number of people with diabetes in British Columbia is expected to rise from 360,000 people this year to 777,000 people in over the next 20 years — the third highest rate of growth in the country.