A student with diabetes says a device that replaces the need for regular finger pricks could be life changing, but he can't get his hands on it in New Zealand.

Daniel Josephs, 24, has type 1 diabetes, an auto-immune condition where the body does not create enough insulin to keep blood glucose levels in the normal range.

The Auckland University student said he had always enjoyed endurance sports, but managing his diabetes while competing was a challenge.

Josephs said he would take "a massive handful of jelly beans" on runs instead of carrying his diabetic testing kit, but described the method as "a bit of a gamble".


A glucose-monitoring system used for tracking patterns and detecting trends in people with insulin dependent diabetes could help him manage his condition.

Abbott's FreeStyle Libre works using a sensor, replaced every 14 days, and a reader.

The sensor is inserted just below the skin on the back of the upper arm and displays glucose data when scanned.

Josephs said using the device would save him drawing blood from his fingers up to six times a day.

"I heard about [the FreeStyle Libre] from my doctor because she knew I wanted to do a
triathlon ... I was really stoked, I could see the possibilities immediately."

He said he was looking at ordering the device from Australia, but it was "hard and a shame" it wasn't available in New Zealand.

"I'd really love it to be ... It's a real shame it's not funded for a majority of Kiwis because it would be a huge help to most diabetics."

Josephs' current CareSens kit is funded by Pharmac.


"The testing strips aren't fully funded, but only cost a couple of dollars once a month".

The FreeStyle Libre costs $95 for a sensor lasting two weeks and $95 for a reader, about $2500 a year.

Diabetes New Zealand president Deb Connor said the device would be "fantastic to have as an option here, even it's self-funded".

She said it "probably" would be popular in New Zealand, but it was still "a little bit cost-prohibitive for people".

"At the moment they'd have to get it through Australia or the UK ... The thing is people want choice and they want to be able to give these things a go."

Pharmac spokesman Anthony Bull said the pharmaceutical agency hadn't received any funding applications for the FreeStyle Libre.

"Anyone can submit a funding application, but these are most commonly submitted by suppliers."

Abbott Diabetes Care regional director Peter Chalikias said the organisation was "working through the regulatory and operational requirements" to make the system available in New Zealand.

The FreeStyle Libre was launched in Europe in 2014.

Australia's Therapeutic Goods Association and US Food and Drug Administration both approved the device in 2016.

More than 240,000 New Zealanders have type 1 and 2 diabetes.