Second week of election campaign starts with major diabetes announcement

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Week two of the federal election campaign has started with bipartisan political support for widening access to continuous glucose monitoring for Australians with Type 1 diabetes.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, health minister Greg Hunt and the Coalition's choice for the portfolio if it wins the election, Senator Anne Ruston, jointly announced a significant expansion in access to subsidised Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM).

Under the $273.1 million commitment, all 130,000 Australians living with Type 1 diabetes will have subsidised access to CGM from 1 July 2022 for a maximum of $32.50 each month.

The Coalition said this is equivalent to the cost they would already be incurring when using blood glucose test strips.

"People who meet the existing eligibility criteria such as people under 21, concession cardholders and pregnant women will continue to receive unchanged, fully subsidised access to CGM products," it said.

"Labor will match the Government's announcement on glucose monitoring devices," said shadow health minister Mark Butler.

Diabetes Australia Group CEO Justine Cain said the commitment was something it had been advocating for over many years.

“Continuous and Flash glucose monitors are life-saving and life-changing for people living with type 1 diabetes,” said Ms Cain.

“Living with type 1 diabetes is a 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year job and this technology helps make that job a lot easier.

“It reduces the daily burden of frequent finger-prick checks and means people have to spend less of their time just managing diabetes. This can translate to improved mental and emotional health and a better quality-of-life.

“It also significantly improves health outcomes and lowers a person’s risk of both short-term complications like hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose levels) and long-term complications including blindness, heart and kidney disease and limb amputation.

“This is smart policy that will save the health system millions in the long run."

The government also announced the 1 May listing on the PBS of Janssen's ERLYAND (apalutamide) for non-metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer and Bristol Myers Squibb's EMPLICITI (elotuzumab) for use in combination with lenalidomide and dexamethasone for multiple myeloma.

The PBAC recommended ERLYAND at its November 2021 meeting and EMPLICITI in July.