Thousands of Australians with type 1 diabetes get subsidised access to life-changing continuous glucose monitoring technology

Today thousands of Australians with type 1 diabetes will be able to access life-changing diabetes technology thanks to a $100 million expansion of the Federal Government’s Continuous Glucose Monitoring Funding Initiative.

Continuous glucose monitors were first subsidised in April 2017 for children and young people with type 1 diabetes but this was limited to those under 21 years of age. From today, subsidised access has been expanded to include:

  • Women with type 1 diabetes who are actively planning pregnancy, pregnant, or immediately post-pregnancy
  • People with type 1 diabetes aged 21 years or older who have a valid concession card and have a high clinical need
  • Children and young people under 21 with conditions very similar to type 1 diabetes who require insulin.

Continuous glucose monitors are small wearable devices that can sound alarms and send warnings if glucose levels are getting too low or too high. The devices reduce the number of daily finger prick checks.

Diabetes Australia CEO Professor Greg Johnson said the expansion of subsidised access was targeted at those who most needed it, and those who could least afford it.

“Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) can help prevent or reduce the very serious impact of hypoglycaemia (dangerously low blood glucose levels and potential for loss of consciousness and coma) and also the fear and anxiety associated with these risks,” Professor Johnson said.

“CGM gives people with diabetes much more information about trends and changes in their glucose levels to help them keep their glucose levels within target ranges.”

“This has short- and long-term health benefits including reducing the likelihood of debilitating and costly complications like eye damage, limb amputation, kidney disease or heart failure.”

Professor Johnson said the new funding was particularly significant for women with type 1 diabetes.

“This is a great day for many women with type 1 diabetes who are wanting to start or add to a family,” he said.

“Pregnancy can bring serious risks for both mother and baby related to glucose levels. CGM will help these women with type 1 diabetes when they are trying to conceive, during the pregnancy, and immediately after pregnancy and give them peace of mind.”

“We are also very pleased that many children with conditions similar to type 1 diabetes will now be able to access subsidised CGM as these kids were missing out until now.”

Diabetes Australia continues to advocate for many people with type 1 diabetes who are still unable to access subsidised CGM and other newer technologies.

“These newer diabetes technologies are life changing, and sometimes life-saving, but expensive and thousands of Australians are still unable to afford them,” he said.

“We applaud the Australian Government for its commitment to supporting people with type 1 diabetes through the initial CGM funding in April 2017 and this expansion of funding from today. However, we will continue to advocate hard to ensure every person with type 1 diabetes who needs these newer technologies is able to access them and they are affordable.”

Professor Johnson noted that “Flash glucose monitors” (called Freestyle Libre) were not yet included in the expansion from today.

“We understand that negotiations between the Department of Health and the company about price are ongoing,” he said.

“We very much hope that the parties can come to agreement very soon. There is strong consumer demand for this technology, and there is very good evidence that flash glucose monitoring can help many people with type 1 diabetes.”

“Type 1 diabetes affects different people in different ways. There is no one standard treatment, and there is no one glucose monitoring technology that works for everyone.”

“The 120,000 Australians currently living with type 1 diabetes need affordable access to a range of different technologies, and these are rapidly evolving.”

“We will continue to work with Governments, the Department of Health, and the companies to ensure that Australian families affected by type 1 diabetes can access the new life changing technology to live healthy and productive lives.”

Find out how to apply for a CGM subsidy here.