Type 1 diabetes

Flash cash: $100m funding will give thousands access to new CGM devices

Thousands more patients with type 1 diabetes will gain access to subsidised continuous glucose monitoring technology – including flash glucometers – as part of a $100 million government funding boost.

From March 2019 the National Diabetes Services Scheme will be expanded to offer fully-subsidised access to glucose monitoring technologies including Freestyle Libre devices worth up to $7000 a year.

Eligibility will include:

  • Adults over 21 with type 1 diabetes who have a concession card and high clinical need (such as recurrent severe hypoglycaemic events);
  • Women with type 1 diabetes who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning to have a baby;
  • Children with rare conditions similar to type 1 diabetes like cystic fibrosis-related diabetes or neonatal diabetes;

An estimated 37,000 patients are expected to benefit from the expansion of the NDSS, which currently only subsidises glucose technology to eligible type 1 patients aged under 21.

Diabetes Australia has been lobbying for wider access to the technology for years and CEO Greg Johnson welcomed the funding announcement as a “great day for the type 1 diabetes community”.

“We are confident that this initiative will improve the lives and give peace of mind to thousands of Australian with type 1 diabetes.”

Patients will benefit from greater access to a broader range of technology including Abbott’s Freestyle Libre for the first time, which is important because a “one size fits all” approach does not work, Mr Johnson said.

JDRF Australia CEO Mike Wilson said the funding was a smart investment in the health of people with diabetes.

“Research shows it can cost almost $15,000 to treat a severe hypoglycaemic event that requires hospitalisation,” he said.

And the wider access to monitoring devices for pregnant women and nursing mothers would have additional benefits for their children, said Dr Alison Nankervis, clinical head diabetes at the and the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

“It improves their safety, it largely improves their quality of life, it improves diabetes control. And we have really good evidence that it also leads to these women having healthier babies,” she said

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