Sigma Pharmaceuticals’ Amcal and Guardian Pharmacy brands are getting behind Diabetes Awareness Week (10 – 16 July) with an education campaign urging Australians to better understand the chronic condition.
Despite one person every five minutes being diagnosed with diabetes and 280 new cases diagnosed each day, findings from the Amcal Consumer Health Barometer showed that almost four in 10 (39%) of those with a family history of serious illness refuse to get tested.
The research also revealed that half the population had not heard of gestational diabetes and an alarming one in 10 people assumed you must be overweight to develop diabetes, indicating that a high number of Australians have little – if any – idea about why diabetes occurs and how to recognise the symptoms.
To help people quickly and easily determine their risk of diabetes or monitor how effectively they are managing their health, Amcal and Guardian Pharmacies officially launched the HbA1c testing in March 2016, following a successful pilot program completed in the second half of 2015.
The screening is now available in 32 Amcal and Guardian Pharmacies across Australia, building on the pharmacies’ broad selection of point of care tests offered to patients.
Sigma’s National Professional Services Manager, James Nevile, says the high visitation by ‘at risk’ and already diagnosed patients to pharmacies presents multiple opportunities for pharmacist intervention.
“We are committed to creating accessible healthcare solutions that facilitate patients accessing the most appropriate parts of the healthcare system in a more timely and efficient manner, and ultimately, motivate them to see their GP and better manage their health,” he says.
“With around one in eight (12%) Australians admitting to skipping regular GP check-ups due to cost and inconvenience, we hope to bridge this gap and encourage people to take proactive measures, rather than waiting for symptoms to worsen before seeking medical advice.
“Equally, we are eager to combat Australians’ ‘it won’t happen to me’ attitude by educating on the risks, symptoms and preventive measures for diabetes to reduce the incidence or related complications.”
To date, more than 200 patients have completed the HbA1c test, which identifies blood sugar control over a specified timeframe, with close to 50% of patients consequently referred to their GP.
Amcal has also created a video with Senior Pharmacist James Nevile and Dr Cindy Pan around diabetes advice and facts.