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Testing times! Choosing Wisely when it comes to monitoring type 2 diabetes

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Harnessing the value of self-monitoring of blood glucose among people with non-insulin-treated type 2 diabetes

Affecting over one million Australians, type 2 diabetes (T2D) costs our country an unsustainable $15 billion annually,1 and is predicted to be the nation’s leading cause of disease burden by 2017.2 It is therefore essential to engage people with this condition in cost-effective therapy to reduce these costs, which arise mostly from treating the long-term complications (eg, blindness, stroke, amputation).

Self-monitoring of blood glucose levels (by means of a finger-prick blood sample analysed with an ambulatory blood glucose meter) is an essential part of managing type 1 diabetes and insulin-treated T2D; however, the clinical benefit for people with T2D who are not using insulin is, and we believe remains, a matter of debate.

The Government decides …

On 29 May 2015, the Australian federal government announced that access to testing strips for self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) would be limited for most people with T2D. This announcement followed a much anticipated 2-year review process and extensive consultation. The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) now stipulates that:

  • unrestricted access to SMBG strips will continue for people with T2D who are using insulin or other medicines (eg, corticosteroids,…