The Hon. Greg Hunt MP
Minister for Health and Elderly Care
To mark National Diabetes Week, the Australian government is announcing a new $ 140 million three-year contract with Diabetes Australia to continue providing the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS).
About 5 percent of the Australian population is directly affected by diabetes. Unfortunately, 80 percent of people say they feel shame or guilty because they have the disease.
This year’s National Diabetes Week – July 11-17 – is trying to counter that by changing the conversation and reducing the stigma of diabetes.
Diabetes Australia leads the campaign asking people, “Would you mind?” If you feel ashamed of your health condition.
The NDSS helps people understand and manage their lives with diabetes themselves. They also get access to services, support and subsidized diabetes products such as blood glucose test strips, insulin syringes, insulin pump consumables and continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) products.
The NDSS currently supports nearly 1.4 million Australians with diabetes. In the 2019-20 period, more than 5.7 million diabetes products were shipped at a cost of more than $ 188 million.
In addition to the NDSS, the government subsidizes vital drugs such as insulin under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). For the 2019-20 period, PBS’s spending on anti-diabetes drugs was over $ 632 million.
As of 2017, the program has also offered fully subsidized CGM products to eligible individuals. The government has expanded the eligibility criteria to allow more people to benefit, and is now offering fully subsidized CGM products to:
- Children and adolescents under 21 years of age with type 1 diabetes
- Children and adolescents with conditions very similar to type 1 diabetes, such as cystic fibrosis-related diabetes and neonatal diabetes, who require insulin
- Women with type 1 diabetes who are planning to become pregnant, are pregnant or immediately after pregnancy
- People with type 1 diabetes aged 21 and over who have a reduced status.
These changes mean that more than 58,000 Australians with type 1 diabetes will be entitled to access to CGM products, with more than $ 300 million in funding over four years.
The new agreement with Diabetes Australia also secures the future of successful programs that make a real difference for people with diabetes, including:
- KeepSight, a diabetes-related blindness prevention program by making it easier for people with diabetes to perform eye exams
- Diabetes in Schools, which provides uniform information and training for parents and families, school principals, school staff and health workers nationwide to help students with type 1 diabetes manage their illness in school, and
- FootForward, a new program to help diabetics understand the importance of a foot exam to avoid foot problems that can lead to an amputation.
The government’s commitment to helping Australians with diabetes goes well beyond the NDSS.
We recognize the importance of clinical research and how it presents an important opportunity to find better ways to prevent, treat, and manage diabetes.
As of 2010, the National Health and Medical Research Council has allocated $ 626 million for diabetes research. Since its inception, the Medical Research Future Fund has invested $ 78 million in diabetes research. This includes $ 25 million to JDRF Australia (formerly known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) for the Australian clinical research network for type 1 diabetes.
An updated Australian National Diabetes Strategy is also being worked on to outline the national response to diabetes and to better coordinate and target the resources available at all levels of government. The strategy will cover 2021-2030 and is expected later this year.
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