Advice to people with diabetes regarding limits on insulin

Australia’s leading national diabetes organisations are encouraging people with diabetes to continue their usual insulin purchasing practices and not stockpile or refill prescriptions more frequently.

The Department of Health has advised that there are no current national shortages or supply issues with insulin, diabetes medicines or products.

However, in recent weeks there have been very high demand for medicines and products and some people have ordered more than they would normally need. This has resulted in some short term local out-of-stock situations in some pharmacies.

We understand many pharmacies are now limiting medications, including insulin, to a one-month supply.

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’).

We have written to the Pharmacy Guild to ensure that all community pharmacies are aware that people with diabetes should continue to receive their full insulin prescription regardless of whether this lasts them one month or more.

One month’s supply of insulin will be a different amount for each person. Most insulin prescriptions do not indicate a daily dose as dosages can vary from day to day and week to week.

The full amount of one prescription will comfortably 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.

People with diabetes are encouraged not to stockpile insulin or other diabetes products and medicines, as this will help ensure that all people who need insulin will be able to get it.

If you have any concerns or questions, please contact Diabetes Australia via