Approximately 537 million adults are living with diabetes worldwide; this number is projected to rise to 643 million by 2030. These are alarming statistics. While newer technologies are being introduced to improve diagnostic and management strategies, this alone is not enough. We need governments to offer timely and affordable access to advanced glucose monitoring systems.
The Ontario government has recently announced the coverage for the FreeStyle Libre 2 system. It is a Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) system for adults and children with diabetes. Ontario residents who use insulin to manage their Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can now get the advanced CGM under Ontario’s publicly-funded drug benefit program.
Traditional methods for glucose monitoring require a blood sample through a finger prick. FreeStyle Libre 2 is a flash glucose monitor that checks glucose levels with a painless scan instead of fingersticks. It is suitable for patients aged 4 and above.
The Ontario government first approved the FreeStyle Libre 1 system in September 2019. This year, when an upgraded version of Libre 1 (the FreeStyle Libre 2) became available, the government also added the upgrade to the publicly-funded program.
Libre 2 has the added feature of customized alarms and notifications for low glucose reading, high glucose reading, and loss of signal between the sensor and FreeStyle Libre 2 app or reader. Alarms further ensure that the patient takes timely action.
Nearly 1.5 million Ontarians living with diabetes could benefit from this broad coverage for diabetes support. The government also publicly funds more than 230 other diabetes support products, including blood glucose test strips.
The greater prevalence of diabetes is sad news, but seeing that a government is dedicated to supporting people living with diabetes is highly appreciable.