NDSS Changes for Diabetic Orders from July 2016

Since July 2016, there have been changes to the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS). These
changes will continue to enable people living with diabetes to access the products they need.

What are the changes from 1 July 2016?

    • From 1 July, NDSS products will be supplied to NDSS community pharmacies through the
      Community Service Obligation (CSO) distribution network. This is the same mechanism used
      to supply medicines to pharmacies under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
    • People with diabetes will continue to access NDSS products such as needles, syringes, blood
      glucose test strips and urine test strips, and for the first time, insulin pump consumables (IPCs),
      however only from NDSS community pharmacies. However, NDSS products will no longer be available
      in the current way from Diabetes Australia or its state and territory agents (this includes via
      Diabetes Australia shops, the NDSS 1300 number, or Diabetes Australia Agent websites).
    • To assist IPC users and ensure people are not disadvantaged during this change,
      there will be a short-term transition period of two months that will allow registrants
      continued access to IPCs through their state/territory diabetes organisation,
      however home delivery will incur postage costs to the IPC user.
    • Support and advice from Diabetes Australia about NDSS products, and self-management
      of diabetes, will continue to be provided to all NDSS registrants
      over the phone and through ongoing education programs.
    • From 1 July 2016, people with type 2 diabetes not using insulin will receive an initial
      six month supply of subsidised blood glucose test strips. After six months, they will
      only be eligible for further access to subsidised test strips if their doctor or other
      authorised health professional considers it clinically necessary to use test strips.
    • The independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee recommended restrictions
      to access to blood glucose test strips based on research including the results of a Post
      Market Review on products used in the management of diabetes which found there is limited
      evidence that self-monitoring of blood glucose improves blood glucose control, quality of life
      or long-term complications in people with type 2 diabetes who are not using insulin.
    • From 1 July 2016 all medical practitioners, credentialed diabetes educators, and
      nurse practitioners will be able to register people for the NDSS, and also approve
      six month extensions of access to blood glucose test strips for people with type 2
      diabetes who are not using insulin. Patients with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes
      using insulin, and gestational diabetes are not subject to the restrictions.
    • A further six months access may be approved if one of the following criteria is met:
      1. the patient has an inter-current illness that may adversely affect blood glucose control;
      2. the patient is undergoing treatment with a medicine that
      may adversely affect blood glucose control;
      3. the patient’s diabetes is inadequately controlled;
      4. there is a clinical need for the patient to self-monitor their blood glucose control; or
      5. there has been a change to the patient’s existing diabetes
      management within the previous three (3) months.
    • Restrictions will come into effect six months from the date of a NDSS Registrant’s first
      test strip purchase from 1 July 2016. This will be automatically recorded on the NDSS
      system accessed by pharmacies when supplying products to Registrants. The initial six
      month access period applies to both new and existing NDSS registrants. Even where a
      registrant has been accessing test strips for several years, their six month initial access
      period will commence from their first order of test strips on or after 1 July 2016.
    • Approval for extended access cannot be retrospective and the six month period cannot be
      accessed in segments. There is no limit on the number of approvals that may be obtained
      as long as the individual continues to meet one or more criteria for extended access.
    • A new authorisation form for Health Professionals to grant a six month extension will be
      available from the NDSS website, and will be similar to the current NDSS Change in Medication
      form. A person’s eligibility to access blood glucose test strips will be recorded on the NDSS
      system which is accessed by pharmacies. Following a six month period, the system will
      automatically record the person as ineligible unless an authorisation form has been received.
      If a person wishes to access blood glucose test strips at a pharmacy they will be directed
      to see an authorised Health Professional. Further information will be available for Health
      Professionals about authorisation processes on the NDSS website over the next month.
    • In addition, from 1 July 2016, all blood glucose test strips will be delisted from the Pharmaceutical
      Benefits Scheme (PBS). Blood glucose test strips will remain available through the NDSS and
      people with diabetes will have continued access through the NDSS. Aboriginal and Torres Strait
      Islander people who are currently eligible for a lower copayment, or no copayment, under the
      Closing the Gap arrangements will continue to receive similar subsidisation under the NDSS.