Availability of diabetes products in Canada. Is anyone else frustrated?

So I love new advancements in D-technology. But I get so discouraged when I hear about a new product, because I find that it is never available on the Canadian market. As a first world country with such close proximity to The States (and comparable demographics with the USA and the UK/ Europe), I feel like we are so behind when it comes to the availability of new devices/ products that could hugely benefit the diabetic population.

Some of the items that come to mind:
-Dexcom G5 (Or even just a Dexcom with mobile sharing capabilities)
-Freestyle Libre
-Medtronic MiniMed 630/640/670g
-Symlin (Amylin/ Pramlintide)
-T:Slim insulin pumps (Tandem apparently has no plans to enter the Canadian market??)

It irritates me to no end that there is very little information regarding the approval status or whether these items have even been submitted to Health Canada at all.

Just venting here really. But if anyone happens to have any updates please share!

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Yes - frustrated.

I would like to try Tresiba but can’t even find a mention on the Health Canada page or on the Novo-Nordisk page. I will email them.

My phamacist mentioned that his Abott rep said the Freestyle Libre would be here in the next few months but that is just heresay.

I just got a Decom G4 one month back. I wanted to see my BG trends on a watch.I knew it was a G4 and thought it would have the share but when it arrived and I was pretty upset that it was NOT the share model. Grrrrr… and we can’t use the clarity app. Still waiting for the electronic parts so I can see my BG on a watch instead of digging into my pocket.

My feelings is that the drug companies are not trying because it is a small market - but I would need to confirm if Health Canada is the barrier :slight_smile:

Yep, it is frustrating.

I see Americans complain about products taking a year to get to them or being delayed for a year by the approval process… Things take years to get here and some things never do come. We waited five years for Lantus, I think eight years for the Dexcom, probably a similar amount for the OmniPod. It’s pretty much to the point that, if I see something new like Afrezza, I just assume it’ll be at least five years until it gets here, and there’s a chance it may never come.

I agree with you, @AE13, I suspect that companies don’t even bother trying at times because Type 1s, especially, are only a few hundred thousand here, at most. If pharmaceutical companies exist to make a profit, they may have to weigh the costs of getting approval over the profit that they’ll make from the medication or device. I noticed that Symlin (Type 1 medication) didn’t ever come, yet Victoza (Type 2 medication) did. I also suspect Dexcom didn’t even attempt the G4 Share or the G5…hopefully we’ll get the G6 and hopefully without too much waiting.

And I agree, this is the one time I have found Google useless. Whenever I try to look up something to see its status I can’t find any mention of it anywhere. There seems to simply be no information available.

Just a piece of advice dear fellow Canadians, if you are able to self finance, then getting Tresiba or Libre is not so complicated, considering the number of flights going from EU to Canada every day. You can do that while waiting for your government to make up their mind.
Or you can also ask the diabetic societies and unions to push the government.
Re Tandem, I am also disappointed that they are not targeting Europe. I was even thinking about starting a distribution company myself but I’m quite sure that they would not give me the rights to distribute their things over here, despite the hungry market.

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I’ve got dual citizenship in New Zealand where the Dex G5 is available and I’m trying to obtain it while I’m here. If the delays do have to do with market size then it wouldn’t make sense that it’s available in New Zealand but not Canada. So I would assume that’s on Health Canada’s end.

As for the Freestyle Libre, I’m doing just that. I have connections in both Australia and Northern Ireland so I’m trying to use their shipping address to get my hands on one.

Thank you for the input!

I got a very quick response from NovoNordisk on Tresiba.

They have applied but are waiting for Health Canada approval.

I may have to write a letter to Justin to tell him to hurry it up.

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One of us should write to find out about Afrezza…

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Well @Jen that is like the company suggestion box…

You make a suggestion and then you get assigned to do it. Let me know how it goes :grinning:

I just emailed Heath Canada about Tresiba. I assume their turnaround time will be much slower than NovoNordisk.

My pharmacist also said the same thing about the Libre. I’m currently trying to get mine overseas.

As I mentioned in a different reply below, I am currently living part time in New Zealand where the Dexcom G5 IS available (despite NZ having a fraction of the population of Canada and the market being so much smaller). So I’m going to blame Health Canada for that one because I doubt it’s on Dexcoms end.

I would be so keen to try Afrezza. But wasn’t there evidence a few years back that inhalable insulin was linked to lung cancer?

I’m pretty sure that was the older type of inhaled insulin that failed (it was taken off the market after a year or two), I can’t recall the name at the moment.

I have asthma myself, so am unsure I’d even be able to use Afrezza, but the idea of being able to use it even just for the occasional correction really intrigues me.

It was called Exubera by Pfizer. This is from a 2008 Medscape article:

Data from the company’s clinical trial program have revealed that 6 of 4740 patients taking inhaled insulin developed lung cancer compared with 1 of 4292 patients who received an active comparator (incidence, per 100 patient years exposure, 0.13 vs 0.02). Postmarketing reports also identified 1 case of lung cancer.

All patients who were diagnosed with lung cancer had a prior history of cigarette smoking, according to an alert issued by MedWatch, the FDA’s safety information and adverse event reporting program. However, the data were insufficient to establish a causal role for the product.

That was exubera …also called the bong by many and is a different technology.


the ingredients : Active ingredient: human insulin
Inactive ingredients: sodium citrate (dihydrate), mannitol, glycine, and sodium hydroxide

It was similar to SC insulin in action profile

While Afrezza is inhaled too… its composition is different.

Afrezza is FDKP + Insulin with a totally different action profile.

you can read more here


for giggles sake


images courtesy of Google

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We Americans are nothing if not entitled whiners far too often. :unamused:

Speaking of which, I am frustrated by the unacceptable lack of availability of Nanaimo bars here in the U.S. (Thanks to Jen, I have a recipe for low-carb Nanaimo bars. But I have no free time to make them… :cry:)


Could you please respond with serving size and carb count?

Why? Do you have a Nanaimo Bar connection in Portland that I don’t know about?!?!? Remember, I live just down the “road” (I-5) from you, and if you’re holding out on me, I will track you down. This very weekend.

This was really helpful. Thank you!!

I saw pictures of these bars in another thread and am curious about the generosity of the serving size and the penalty of the carbs. I’m not much in the kitchen but I might be tempted to make this treat!

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In addition to the fact that Canada is a much smaller market than the US and therefore not such a high priority with the pharmaceutical companies, there is another factor at play. Most Canadians have free healthcare coverage, including pharmacare or pay a nominal fee (less than $100 a month). That is doable not least because Health Canada avoids duplication of similar devices and medications, thereby reducing the cost of these products. The process of evaluating new products to determine if they are justified or are just a copycat of something already available and covered, can sometimes be time consuming. However, there is nothing short of time and money stopping most Canadians from taking a quick trip across the border and buying whatever they want from a drugstore. The fact that the products are not approved does not make them illegal, it only means you won’t get the government Pharmacare program to pay for them until they are approved, i.e. found to not be a duplicate of another product that is already available.

I believe the recipe cited was from here

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