Removal of glucose test strips from PBS faces opposition

A draft PBS review of the use of the strips concluded their use in these patients had to be “clinically appropriate” and without “potential to inadvertently promote their inappropriate use”.

The government spent some $143.5 million subsidising SMBG strips for people living with diabetes in 2011–12. About 35% of all test strips were dispensed to patients with type 2 diabetes not using insulin.

The draft review found a lack of strong evidence to support use of SMBG levels in terms of HbA1c improvement and that, to be effective, SMBG needed to be part of a complex educational intervention promoting patient behavioural changes and therapeutic medication adjustments more tightly aligned to test results.

However, Professor Stephen Colagiuri, from the University of Sydney, a past president of the Australian Diabetes Society, disagreed the test strips should be restricted.

He stressed the value of SMBG as an