The Australian Government is aware of the significant impact that diabetes has on people and their families and is committed to working towards the broad prevention of the disease in the Australian community.
On 25 November 2018, the Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, announced that the Government would expand the Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Initiative, through an investment of more than $100 million.
Since 1 April 2017, the Government has provided fully subsidised CGM products to children and young people, under 21 years of age, with type 1 diabetes.
From 1 March 2019, eligibility for fully subsidised CGM products will be expanded to include the following groups of people:
- children and young people with conditions very similar to type 1 diabetes, such as cystic fibrosis related diabetes and neonatal diabetes, who require insulin;
- women with type 1 diabetes who are pregnant, breastfeeding or actively planning pregnancy; and
- people with type 1 diabetes aged 21 years or older who have concessional status and have a high clinical need to access CGM products.
The Government also announced its commitment to include the FreeStyle Libre
flash glucose monitoring system on the list of products subsidised under the scheme, subject to price negotiations with the product sponsor. This will provide greater choice for people with diabetes.
As a result of the Government’s additional investment in the CGM Initiative, over 37,000 Australians will be eligible to receive fully subsidised CGM products.
The Government provides considerable additional support to people with diabetes, including those people not eligible for the CGM Initiative. The Government subsidises essential medicines, like insulin, under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and diabetes-related products through the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS).
The NDSS provides subsidised syringes and needles, blood glucose test strips, urine ketone test strips and insulin pump consumables to people with diabetes. It also provides educational and information services to assist in the best use of products and self-management of diabetes.
In 2017-18, expenditure on medicines for diabetes was over $597 million and expenditure on products for diabetes supplied through the NDSS was over $205 million.
On 1 December 2018, NDSS arrangements changed to make subsidised products even more affordable, benefitting more than 600,000 Australians with diabetes. Most people who access products through the NDSS will receive a reduction in the copayment they pay.
The Government also funds the Insulin Pump Program (IPP) to provide fully subsidised insulin pumps and subsidised insulin pump consumables for financially disadvantaged families who have children aged 18 years and under with type 1 diabetes, but do not have access to other means of reimbursement, such as private health insurance.
In the 2018-19 Budget, additional funding of $6.2 million was provided so that an extra 280 children with type 1 diabetes can access fully subsidised insulin pumps each year.
Further to the $35 million previously provided by the Government to the JDRF Clinical Research Network to help find a cure for juvenile diabetes, on 4 February 2019, the Government announced $54.5 million for research into type 1 diabetes through the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).
Of this, $25 million will support JDRF Australia to advance its Type 1 Diabetes Clinical Research Network, with an additional $4.5 million over three years to be provided to JDRF Australia to further assist with the strategic vision and national leadership of the Australian Type 1 Diabetes Clinical Research Network.
$25 million will also be dedicated to broader diabetes research under the $125 million MRFF Targeted Translation Research Accelerator (TTRA, also known as the Chronic Disease Fund) program to help progress early stage health and medical research discoveries to reach proof of concept and progress to clinical trials.