Calls for further type two diabetes support

Type two diabetes patients are calling for more support from the federal government, after a glucose monitoring system subsidy for those with type one diabetes was delivered in 2022.

Apr 09, 2024, updated Apr 09, 2024
Patients with type one diabetes have been able to access subsidised CGM devices since 2022. Photo: Adobe Stock

Patients with type one diabetes have been able to access subsidised CGM devices since 2022. Photo: Adobe Stock

Continuous glucose monitoring systems (CGM) provide automatic glucose readings and are available for those with type one diabetes for an annual cost of $390, thanks to a National Diabetes Services Scheme subsidy.

Without the government subsidy, those with type two diabetes have to pay up to $5600 annually to access a CGM.

Julie Allerton, who has type two diabetes, said she had to “really, really think about whether it was worth it”.

“I decided to give it a three-month trial and just do it for three months. And the fact is that it probably saved my life in those first few weeks,” she said.

Allerton said she had contacted federal Health Minister Mark Butler’s officer to seek more support for those with type two diabetes, and was told the government would “continue to monitor the operation of the scheme”.

“There are so many people that don’t have the resources that can’t afford to use a CGM device,” Allerton said.

Julie Allerton said the daily insulin injections she requires are “time consuming”. Photo: supplied

“Those people that are going to their doctors should get it at the subsidised rate because they’re doing the right thing trying to keep on top of all their health.

“Give them the opportunities to get it because their lives are going to get better if they can get access to these devices, but at a cheaper rate.”

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The House of Representatives standing committee on health, aged care and sport is currently undergoing an inquiry into diabetes, with Butler saying CGM subsidies were being discussed.

Speaking in Adelaide last month, Butler said the committee was receiving “a whole lot of evidence about the particular challenges for families and patients living with diabetes”.

“I’ve seen… some calls for those technologies to be made available to patients with type two diabetes… we’re taking it very seriously. But I want to see that inquiry, run its course… then we’ll start looking at those issues,” he said.

“While we await the outcomes of the Committee’s work, our Government has been focused on strengthening Medicare and general practice, which is at the heart of good diabetes care.”

Butler said the government had a “proud record of delivering for Australians living with diabetes,” pointing to Fiasp insulin being listed on the PBS, 130,000 people with type two diabetes having access to subsidised CGMs, and expanded access to the Insulin Pump Program.

In 2020-2021, a $3.4 billion expenditure was attributed to diabetes in the Australian health system, with approximately $2.3 billion of that attributed to type two diabetes.

During that time, medications through the PBS were the single highest area of diabetes spending, making up $952.7 million of total diabetes expenditure.

In 2022-2023, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) expenditure on medicines for diabetes was $869 million.

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