News in brief: PoC testing for HbA1c funded by Medicare; Romosozumab on PBS for osteoporosis; Adrenal insufficiency medical alert jewellery unworn;

Wednesday, 31 Mar 2021

Point-of-care HbA1c testing available on Medicare

From November 1, point-of-care HbA1c tests will be listed on Medicare for the management and monitoring of established diabetes, the government has announced.

The listing will fund approximately 190,000 tests in a move intended to reduce turnaround times, increase patient convenience and improve access particularly for patients based in regional, rural and remote areas, and people with impaired mobility. The point-of-care tests will be done by an appropriately trained GP or specialist in their practice, as an alternative to lab-based tests.

The funding was recommended by the Medicare Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) in 2020 after numerous previous applications for funding were rejected. At the time, MSAC concluded there was no evidence that PoC testing was associated with differences in health outcomes compared with laboratory based testing.

Medical alert jewellery missing for adrenal insufficiency

Most patients with adrenal insufficiency (AI) are not using the medical jewellery that is recommended for emergencies, an Australian study suggests.  A review of subscription data for the largest medical jewellery provider in Australia  found that only 54% of the 666 AI patients aged 25 years and under had an active subscription. This corresponded to a subscription rate of 43.67/million or about 14.6% of the estimated AI patient population, according to a study led by Georgina Chrisp at the University of Notre Dame Medical School, Sydney.

PBS listing for romosozumab for severe osteoporosis

Romosozumab  (Evenity) will be listed on the PBS from 1 April for the treatment of severe osteoporosis

The move follows a recommendation by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) in March 2020 to subsidise romosozumab for the treatment of severe osteoporosis in patients who have experienced a prior fracture while on anti-resorptive therapy. The PBAC noted concerns about cardiovascular risk with the drug and also required the manufacturer Amgen address concerns regarding ensuring on-going use of anti-resorptive therapy following cessation of romosozumab.

The listing is expected to provide subsidised access to the drug for over 2,800 Australians.

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