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Australians living with Type 1 Diabetes get cheaper access to hi-tech monitoring devices

Australians living with Type 1 diabetes will now have access to potentially lifesaving devices for an affordable price.

The Albanese government has followed through on a bipartisan election promise made in April to provide the 130,000 Australians living with Type 1 diabetes access to subsidised blood sugar monitoring products.

Continuous glucose monitors are small wearable devices that monitor glucose levels automatically, providing readings every few minutes via smartphone apps.

People living with type 1 diabetes have to check their glucose levels multiple times a day to ensure their blood sugar levels are not too high or low.

Up until now, diabetics have had to check their glucose levels through painful fingerpick testing.

Most diabetics currently use fingerpick testing to monitor blood sugar levels. Supplied
Camera IconMost diabetics currently use fingerpick testing to monitor blood sugar levels. Supplied Credit: News Regional Media

Under the new program, Australians aged over 21 with Type 1 diabetes can access the CGM products through their pharmacy for under $400 a year – a fraction of the $5,000 it previously cost them per year.

Those with Type 1 diabetes who are already eligible for the products through the National Diabetes Services Scheme — including children and young adults under 21, concession card holders and people who are pregnant, post-pregnancy or trying to get pregnant — will continue to receive them for free.

Diabetes Device
Camera IconMany Australians living with diabetes were forced to stop using continuous glucose monitoring devices because of the prohibitive cost. Hollie Adams/The Australian Credit: News Corp Australia

Eligibility for the Insulin Pump Program will also be expanded to include young adults up to the age of 21.

An extra 35 fully subsidised insulin pumps per year will be provided to allow young adults aged 18-21 with Type 1 diabetes from financially disadvantaged families to benefit from the technology.

Previously, the program was limited to children up to age 18.

“We are supporting tens of thousands of adults who would otherwise miss out and providing certainty for young people who currently have access,” Federal Health Minister Mark Butler said.

The program will cost the Federal Government $273 million over four years.

Mr Butler acknowledged the work of thousands of Australians living with Type 1 diabetes and their families who campaigned for the change.

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