The one month limit on insulin dispensing imposed by retail pharmacies is causing confusion and concern for people with type 1 diabetes.
To combat stockpiling in the COVID19 pandemic, pharmacists have been be required by government and their professional organisations to limit dispensing of certain prescription products to 1 months’ supply “at the prescribed dose”.
But the one-month dispensing limit for insulin has led some people with T1D to fear that they will not receive their full insulin prescription regardless of whether this lasts them one month or more, according to the Australian Diabetes Society.
“We are aware that this one-month supply restriction is causing confusion. Some people are concerned that that they will not receive the full amount of their prescription (i.e. 5 vials or 5 boxes of flexpens or ‘penfills’),” it said in a statement released on 26 March
The Society noted that most insulin prescriptions do not indicate a daily dose as dosages can vary from day to day and week to week, and the full amount of one prescription will usually meet nearly all people’s monthly insulin needs.
“However, there will be some people with diabetes who use larger quantities of insulin and therefore may need to fill their prescriptions again within the month. It is important that these people can continue to receive insulin and that they are not inadvertently accused of stockpiling.”
The Society said it had written to the Pharmacy Guild to ensure that all community pharmacies are aware that people with diabetes should continue to receive one month’s supply of insulin will be a different amount for each person.
The Pharmacy Guild says that dispensing limits apply to prescription products such as insulins and oral hypoglycaemics, as well as asthma and COPD medicines and anti-epileptics. Other medicines may be added to the list in the coming weeks.
Pharmacists will be strongly encouraged to limit dispensing and sales of all other medicines to one months’ supply or one unit, it said.
The Department of Health has advised that there are no current national shortages or supply issues with insulin, diabetes medicines or products.