The sudden removal of the fast-acting Fiasp insulin from Australia’s PBS subsidy system has been a source of major heartache amongst the diabetes community. But we had a glimmer of hope this morning.
The Federal Health Minister (Mark Butler MP) has announced that instead of Fiasp being summarily deleted from PBS, it’s going into “Supply Only” state for 6 months. We haven’t yer seen an official statement from PBS, but fingers are crossed. That should hopefully happen within days.
This means that as long as you have a prescription that was written before the 1st of April 2023 (note they’re only valid for 12 months) then you will be able to fill it at the usual PBS pricing until the end of September 2023.
The fast mobilisation of voices in the diabetes community has been inspiring. The Change.org petition I linked to previously now has over 38,000 signatures on it. We’ve had loud media coverage, official questions asked by members in Federal Parliament, and more. It’s been great to see people speaking up about their outrage. It was also good to see some of the diabetes organisations speaking up!
The problem isn’t solved: this is just a reprieve.
But it’s hopefully giving PBS and Novo some time to renegotiate their positions regarding having Fiasp subsidised. We will be watching as closely as we can.
The apparent lack of consultation with the people who matter (us the people who rely on Fiasp as one of the tools to keep themselves healthy) in the initial PBS action was shameful. Hopefully this can be avoided in the future.
And if Lilly manage to get their Lyumjev fast-acting insulin registered in Australia (it’s already approved in Europe, the US, and Canada just as a start) and apply for PBS listing, that will give us more options. And give Novo some competition. I’ve been writing about my experiences with Lyumjev (obtained overseas) for some time.
Lack of information?
Of course, some people are still only now hearing about the Fiasp situation. And reporting that some of their doctors don’t even seem aware of it yet.
While I believe that Automated Insulin Delivery (AID) systems are where these faster insulins can be made best use of, I also hear from people who have found it’s helped their management using older setups such as MDI.
I heard today from some people saying that their doctor hadn’t ever told them that Fiasp might be an option for them. Finding out about an option for life improvement at the same time as hearing that it’s being taken away can’t be a good way to start your day. Hopefully we can all improve the knowledge and communication around tools like this.