Earlier this week, the Cross Party Oireachtas Committee on Diabetes met with representatives of Abbott’s Diabetes Care Business and Health Tech (Ireland) for an update on the current situation in Ireland and internationally relating to patient access to the Freestyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System, produced by Abbott.
Over the last 3 to 4 years, the diabetes community and political representatives have been calling for the Freestyle Libre system to be made available to adults with diabetes over 21 years of age based on clinical need. This has been the issue that has exasperated the diabetes community the most over the past few years and today we are no nearer a resolution to this as it was recently confirmed that no dedicated funding has been provided to PCRS for Freestyle Libre in the National Service Plan 2021.
The committee heard from Abbott that they are keen to continue to work with the HSE to enable people with diabetes to improve glycaemic control through the broader introduction of Freestyle Libre and with the support of Diabetes Ireland, continue to make efforts to enable access to Freestyle Libre based on clinical need regardless of age.
The committee also heard from Diabetes Ireland that the HSE Medicines Management Programme (MMP) completed an evaluation to identify preferred blood glucose test strips for adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus, as part of the MMP’s remit to support safe, effective and cost-effective prescribing and launched new guidelines for healthcare professionals. Diabetes Ireland estimates that around €8-10m will be saved this year alone and yet none of these savings have to date been ringfenced for diabetes care.
The committee heard from Diabetes Ireland that thousands of people with diabetes in Ireland can’t understand why some of the savings made on blood glucose strips cannot be earmarked for adults who are deemed to clinically require the Freestyle Libre by their diabetes team.
The committee agreed to write to both the Minister for Health and the HSE CEO to address this issue with the Chair of the Cross Party Oireachtas Committee on Diabetes, Mr Cormac Devlin TD adding “the committee is still meeting with various diabetes stakeholders and it is our intention to seek a meeting with the Minister for Health to discuss the various issues, including removal of the age restriction for the Freestyle Libre, that need to be addressed in order to meet the diabetes health needs of all people living with diabetes in Ireland. I would like to thank Abbott and Health Tech (Ireland) for their very informative presentation today”.