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The Canberra Times
The Canberra Times
Gerard Cockburn

Subsidy to drop device costs for people with diabetes

Health Minister Mark Butler says the subsidy could save people with type 1 diabetes thousands of dollars. Picture: Elesa Kurtz

Australians living with type 1 diabetes will now have cheaper access to glucose monitoring devices.

The federal government has expanded subsidies for continuous glucose monitoring devices, which will slash the annual cost from around $5000 to less than $400 for people aged over 21 years old.

Further subsidies through the National Diabetes Services Scheme was an election pledge from the Albanese government, with the cost reduction to the consumer part of a four-year $273.1-million investment.

This investment also includes expanded access to the insulin pump program, which will see an additional 35 pumps being subsidised for people aged 18 to 21 from disadvantaged backgrounds.

It initially was only open to people under 18.

Health Minister Mark Butler said thousands of people with diabetes would miss out on possible life-saving devices if government subsidies were not in place.

"The Albanese government is delivering our election commitment to support all Australians living with type 1 diabetes to get access to subsidised continuous glucose monitoring products," Mr Butler said.

"We are supporting tens of thousands of adults who would otherwise miss out and providing certainty for young people who currently have access."

People with type 1 diabetes who are 21 years or older will need to provide a co-payment when buying a product through a pharmacy.

The co-payment is expected to be approximately $32.50 a month or $390 a year. Australian aged under 21 and concession card holders will continue to receive the products free of charge.

People with type 1 diabetes who are pregnant, attempting to fall pregnant and post-pregnancy will also be able to get monitoring products for free. Mr Butler also noted the push was from the community who had been campaigning for the needed cost reduction for people with type 1 diabetes.

"I want to acknowledge the work of thousands of Australians living with type 1 diabetes and their families who campaigned for this change, along with JDRF and Diabetes Australia," he said.

Labor during the election also pledged on cutting the cost of a number of medicines, claiming Australians would save $12.50 on scripts under changes to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

The pledge was to reduce the maximum co-payment per script from $42.50 to $30.

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