Health department launches much-anticipated diabetes tender

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The Department of Health and Aged Care has launched its tender for products supplied through the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS).

The tender is for four products - blood glucose test strips, syringes, urinary ketone test strips, and continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) consumables.

Companies have until 6 October to respond with a three-year service agreement to begin on 1 April 2024.

According to the tender document, "As at 30 June 2023, there were approximately 1.4M people with diabetes registered with the NDSS and approximately 55% of these people order NDSS products. This includes more than 82,000 people who are approved to access subsidised CGM products."

"The eligibility criteria for access to subsidised continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) products under the NDSS was expanded from 1 July 2022. This resulted in a significant increase in the volume of products supplied under the scheme.  Due to this significantly increased volume of products, the Department expects to achieve lower unit pricing for these products through the conduct of this RFP [request for proposal] process.

There are currently three CGM products supplied through the NDSS with significant concern over the potential impact of the tender.

The tender, which the providers of other health technologies will closely watch, is being run against the backdrop of a pending Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) review of CGM. 

Health minister Mark Butler recently blocked MSAC's consideration of two submissions to widen subsidised access to CGM products.