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CGMs, flash monitoring and our campaign for affordable access

Every advance in drugs, therapy or technology changes lives among Queenslanders living with diabetes.

 

Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) is the latest step in a tradition that has been saving lives and offering new hope to the diabetes community since the discovery of insulin 96 years ago.

 

At Diabetes Queensland, we work to help maximize the benefit of these new opportunities. Our vision is that all Queenslanders will share our determination to fight diabetes, support and care for people living with diabetes and work hard for a cure to diabetes.

 

Finger-prick BGL monitoring was the best and only option for good type 1 diabetes management for decades. Now the gold standard is CGM.

 

Monitoring glucose in interstitial (between the cells) fluid just beneath the skin, CGMs provide an (almost) real time readout of current glucose levels and forecast trends. Linked to a pump or used to help guide insulin pen dosages, CGM helps deliver lower HbA1cs and reduces the risk of hypos.

 

Unfortunately, while Australia's National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) provides extensive support to people living with diabetes, not all who stand to benefit from CGM are granted the affordable access to this technology that comes with Government subsidization.

 

Working through Diabetes Australia, Diabetes Queensland is campaigning for access to be extended beyond those (aged 21 and under) whose CGMs are currently subsidized.

 

Another new technology, flash monitoring, taps into interstitial fluid to provide users updated glucose level data that can be read via a scanner.

 

Compared to CGMs, the flash system (marketed under the Freestyle Libre brand-name) does not link to other devices like phones or pumps, but is less expensive. The flash system also does not provide alarms if glucose levels go below or above healthy levels.

 

Both of these technologies can improve the health and quality of life of people with diabetes while delaying diabetes complications like blindness, kidney disease and neuropathy.

 

They can greatly reduce the cost of subsequent treatment, creating health system savings and improving the productivity of those affected.

 

Diabetes Queensland believes universal subsidized access to these technologies should apply to all Australians with type 1 diabetes and to those with type 2 whose clinical circumstances stand to benefit. Allowing users to choose between these systems would maximize the health benefits to individuals and to our health system as a whole.

 

Recently, the Commonwealth began to evaluate options for a subsidy on flash monitoring. Diabetes Queensland welcomes this news. We urge the Government to further extend access to these and other valuable new technologies.

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