Evolving technologies challenge existing funding pathways

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Funding pathways for insulin delivery technologies remain the focus of many Australians living with Type 1 Diabetes who will be hoping for something in tonight's 2022-23 Budget.

The technologies are currently funded through a combination of private health insurance and the government-funded National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS).

The up-front cost of traditional tubed insulin pump hardware is funded through private health insurance. Insulin pump consumables are subsidised through the NDSS.

Yet evolving technologies are challenging these traditional funding pathways.

The Omnipod DASH System does not have any up-front acquisition costs. It is a tubeless and waterproof insulin management system that provides up to three days of insulin delivery for users.

In 2021, health minister Greg Hunt said he anticipated advice to fund the system.

“My hope is that this will be brought forward for a full assessment by the medical authorities. I guarantee if they approve it, we will fund it," he said.

The Medical Services Advisory Committee has recommended the inclusion of the Omnipod DASH System on the NDSS. Sponsor company Insulet has accepted the recommendation but it is yet to advance to actual funding.

The system had a private market launch in Australia in 2021 but many patients will be hoping for a funding announcement in tonight's Budget.

Tannya Stevens, who has a daughter living with Type 1 Diabetes, has created a parliamentary petition. It has attracted over 4,700 signatures in support of adding the system to the NDSS.

Joanna Sader is the country manager of Insulet Australia. She told HealthDispatch the company has been working with the Department of Health for two years.

“The Minister for Health is aware of the strong demand by the Australian Type 1 Diabetes community to have affordable and equitable access to Omnipod DASH System,” she said, adding, “We are very confident the right decision will be made on behalf of Australians living with this terrible lifelong disease.”