HSE changes to the number of blood glucose strips supplied to people with Type 2 Diabetes

Note: This does not apply to people with type 1 diabetes or people with type 2 diabetes on insulin injections

Diabetes Ireland has been informed by the HSE that as of April 1st, 2016 rules governing access to unlimited amounts of blood glucose strips for some people with Type 2 diabetes will be altered.

The new changes being introduced by the HSE are based on recommendations from a review by the Medicines Management Programme (MMP). This review looked at international evidence and best practise guidelines along with the national usage. Research has indicated that blood glucose testing has a limited benefit for many people who do not take insulin to manage their diabetes. Therefore, based on best evidence, the HSE is introducing changes to the number of blood glucose test strips it will supply for people with Type 2 diabetes while ensuring those who need test strips to help manage their diabetes will continue to have access to them. The allowance is based on the medications you are prescribed to manage your diabetes.

All prescribers (Consultants, GPs etc.) were recently issued with new guidance by the HSE limiting the annual amount of blood glucose strips they can routinely prescribe to people with Type 2 diabetes. These guidelines are as follows: 

The New Allowances for Test Strips

Patient groupTesting recommendationYearly dispensing amounts
Patients receiving insulin4 times daily and when requiredNo limit recommended
Test according to specialist recommendations
Patients receiving non-insulin medication for diabetes with hypoglycemic riskPatients receiving sulphonylurea (e.g. gliclazide) or meglitinide (e.g. repaglinide) drugs: May test 1-2 times daily or if feeling hypoglycaemic.1200 test strips per year
Two boxes (100 test strips) per month will be reimbursed
Patients receiving non-insulin medication for diabetes with minimal hypoglycemic riskPatients on anti-diabetic drugs other than sulphonylurea or meglitinides (i.e. metformin and/or a thiazolidinedione, DPP-4 inhibitor , GLP-1 analogue, SGLT2 inhibitor)*: May test 3 times per week if needed600 test strips per year
One box (50 test strips) per month will be reimbursed
Lifestyle treatment i.e. healthy diet and exerciseNot required100 test strips per year
One pack per 6 months to allow for periodic testing where recommended
* Thiazolidinedione (e.g. pioglitazone), DPP-4 inhibitor (e.g. sitagliptin, saxagliptin), GLP-1 analogue (e.g. liraglutide, exenatide), SGLT2 inhibitor (e.g. canagliflozin, dapagliflozin)

Remember, you should only get test strips as you need them (monthly) from your pharmacist.IF YOU ARE UNSURE WHICH OF THESE MAY APPLY TO YOU, TALK TO YOUR PHARMACIST.

If you are unsure whether or how this will impact on you, as a first step, talk to your pharmacist who will be able to deal with your query. Then, if you, as an individual, feel that you need more than the routinely supplied annual amount of blood glucose strips, you must, speak to your prescriber (your GP or Consultant) and if they agree you need more blood glucose strips to effectively manage your condition, they can simply authorise it on your behalf and more strips will be made available to you.

If you are on a sulphonyluria medicine (tablet) and need to test more often as a result of your work or lifestyle and/are at risk of hypoglycaemia episodes, Diabetes Ireland strongly recommends that you speak to your prescriber as soon as possible.

Both your prescriber and pharmacist will be applying these changes from April 1st, 2016.

For more information go to our frequently asked questions section.