Diabetes meters and test strips: Brand change completed

Blood glucose meters and strips are used by about 120,000 people in New Zealand living with diabetes.

Funded diabetes meters and test strips

From 1 August 2018 until 2022, CareSens will supply the only funded diabetes meters and associated test strips for New Zealanders to monitor and manage their own diabetes.

The 4 funded meters and their test strips are:

  • CareSens N and CareSens N Blood Glucose test strips – no change
  • CareSens N Pop and CareSens N Blood Glucose test strips – no change
  • CareSens N Premier with bluetooth functionality and CareSens N Blood Glucose test strips – not previously funded
  • CareSens Dual with bluetooth functionality and CareSens PRO Blood Glucose test strips and KetoSens Blood Ketone test strips – not previously funded.

For people using funded Sensocard blood glucose test strips there is no change. 

If you're eligible for a funded meter, and don't already have one of the funded Caresens meters, you can get a new meter from your community pharmacy before 1 August 2018.  From 1 August 2018 you will have to see your general practitioner to change meters.

After 31 July 2018, we won't fund test strips that aren't on the list above.

Watch our video to hear the main messages about the recent funding decision of CareSens meters and test strips.

For people living with diabetes

Will I have to change meters?

From 1 August 2018, the CareSens II, Freestyle Optium/Neo and Accu-Chek Performa meters and their test strips will no longer be funded.

If you use any of these meters, you’ll need to change to one of the 4 funded CareSens meters and test strips.

What if I haven't changed meters by 1 August 2018?

You can continue to use the meter and test strips you have until you run out. You'll have to change to one of the 4 funded CareSens meters when you want to use funded test strips.

I have a lifetime special authority for access to an alternative brand of test strips – do I have to change my meter?

Yes you do. The Special Authority is not “lifetime”, but was set up so that the doctors or nurses who prescribed the test strips for you didn't have to keep renewing the applications for you to access a Special Authority brand of test strips.

Special Authorities for the Freestyle Optium and Accu-Chek Performa blood glucose test strips are valid until 31 July 2018.

This means that:

  • Up to 31 July 2018, your prescriptions can be filled as usual: the Special Authority brand of test strips will be dispensed.
  • You can change to a CareSens Dual meter any time from now on.
  • From 1 August 2018, you'll need to change to a CareSens Dual meter and test strips if you want to use a funded meter and strips.

Will it cost me to change my meter?

  • Before 1 August 2018 there will be no charge (or copayment) to collect your new meter.
  • After 1 August 2018 there will be the usual $5.00 copayment for picking up a prescription.

How do I know which meter to change to?

Look at this table to see which meter you will have to change to.

What do I get when I collect my new funded meter?

Your new meter is supplied with:

  • 50 lancets
  • a lancing device
  • 10 blood glucose diagnostic test strips.

Where can I change meters?

From 1 August 2018 you will need a prescription from your diabetes healthcare professional eg your GP or diabetes specialist, if you want a funded meter. Your pharmacist can fill your prescription for a meter but your pharmacists will no longer be able to change your meter for you without a prescription.

  • From 1 August 2018 there will be a $5.00 charge to collect your new meter.

Am I eligible?

Exceptions: if you're pregnant, on home TPN, or have a disorder of glucose homeostasis that's not diabetes or metabolic syndrome, first see your main health provider. Your pharmacist will need a prescription to give you your new meter.

Where can I get more information about the meters?

Is PHARMAC going to fund a meter that is a continuous glucose monitoring system?

PHARMAC is interested in funding new diabetes technology and we have received applications for continuous blood glucose monitoring systems. We'll follow our usual process to assess these applications.

For prescribers

Who's eligible for funded meters and test strips?

How do I know if my patients have to change meters and which meters they need to change to?

From 1 August 2018, these meters and their test strips will no longer be funded:

  • CareSens II
  • Freestyle Optium/Neo
  • Accu-Chek Performa.

People using these meters will need to change to one of the 4 funded CareSens meters and test strips by 31 July 2018 to access a funded meter and test strips.

The change table on this page tells you which patients need to change meters and which meters they need to change to.

Where can my patients change their meters?

From 1 August 2018, patients will need a prescription from their diabetes healthcare professional to change their meter at their community pharmacy.

Pharmaco may be able to assist practices with high-needs patient groups, and diabetes clinics wishing to change their patient’s meters, by providing some sample meters. Contact Pharmaco directly to discuss this.

Are there any published reports about these funded meters?

We sought healthcare professional and consumer feedback about the meters to help us support people with any change of meters.

Pharmaco info about the meters

Contact

If you have questions about patient eligibility for the funded meters, check the "Will my meter change?" table or contact PHARMAC:

If you have questions about the meters, or about training or resources associated with the meters, contact the supplier, Pharmaco:

For pharmacists

  • CareSens N, CareSens N POP, CareSens N Premier and CareSens Dual meters and their test strips will be Sole Supply from 1 August 2018.
  • All other brands of meters and test strips will be delisted from 1 August 2018 and Special Authorities for them will no longer be valid.
  • From 1 August 2018 pharmacists will only be able to dispense a funded meter to patients with a script from a diabetes health professional

Will I be able to claim a brand switch fee for changing people’s meters?

  • From 1 August 2018, a brand switch fee will no longer be paid for changing people to a funded CareSens meter.

Will patients need to pay a co-payment for a new meter?

  • Until 31 July 2018, people who need to change meters will have their copayment waived and there will be no charge for them.
  • From 1 August 2018, patients will have to pay a copayment for their funded meter.

Information about subsidised meters

  • CareSens N, N POP and Premier meters use the same funded glucose strips – the CareSens N test strips.
  • CareSens Dual meters use the funded CareSens PRO glucose test strips and KetoSens blood ketone test strips.
  • If a person has type 1 diabetes and is using a CareSens N or CareSens N POP meter they do not have to change their meter but can change to a funded CareSens Dual meter if they want. They don't have to hand in their old meter.
  • Those people not eligible for a funded meter (such as patients taking metformin) who want a new meter can purchase one.
  • Refer to the "Will my meter change?" table to see which patients will need to switch meters.

Battery replacement

The supplier of CareSens meters, Pharmaco, will provide community pharmacies with batteries to provide to patients using CareSens meters.

Training resources

Contact

If you have questions about patient eligibility for the funded meters, check the "Will my meter change?" table or contact PHARMAC:

If you have questions about the meters, or about training or resources associated with the meters, contact the supplier, Pharmaco:

Will my meter change?

What meter are you currently using? What medications are you taking? What does this decision mean for you? Who can help you change your meter?

CareSens N or CareSens N POP, testing for glucose

Black meter with 3 buttons, labelled Caresens N.Long and narrow black meter with 2 buttons.

Insulin and/or sulphonyurea tablets (ie glibenclamide, gliclazide or glipizide) You will not need to change the meter you use but if you have Type 1 diabetes you can change to a CareSens Dual meter if you want. From 1 August 2018, you will need a prescription from your diabetes healthcare professional eg your GP or diabetes specialist.
Metformin or any other medication You will not need to change the meter you use.

CareSens II, testing for glucose

White meter with 2 buttons placed vertically.

Insulin and/or sulphonyurea tablets (ie glibenclamide, gliclazide or glipizide) You will need to change the meter you use. You are eligible to change to one of the funded CareSens meters.

If you have Type 1 diabetes you can change to a CareSens Dual meter

From 1 August 2018, you will need a prescription from your diabetes healthcare professional eg your GP or diabetes specialist.

Discuss which one of the four CareSens meters is right for you.

Metformin or any other medication You will need to change the meter you use if you need to keep testing your blood glucose. You can contact Pharmaco, the supplier of CareSens meters on support@pharmacodiabetes.co.nz or 0800 GLUCOSE and they can provide you with a CareSens N meter

Freestyle Optium/ Freestyle Optium Neo, testing for glucose and ketones

Off-white and black meter with 3 buttons, labelled FreeStyle Optium.Black meter with 2 buttons.
You have access to Freestyle Optium blood glucose test strips through a Special Authority because you were using insulin and testing for ketones prior to 1 June 2012 You will need to change the meter you use. You are eligible to change to one of the funded CareSens meters.

If you have Type 1 diabetes you can change to a CareSens Dual meter
From 1 August 2018, you will need a prescription from your diabetes healthcare professional eg your GP or diabetes specialist.

Discuss which one of the four CareSens meters is right for you.

Freestyle Optium, testing for ketones only

Off-white and black meter with 3 buttons, labelled FreeStyle Optium.
You are using this meter for ketone testing alone or in conjunction with a CareSens meter for blood glucose testing You will need to change the meter you use to the CareSens Dual meter.

The CareSens Dual tests for both blood glucose and ketones.
From 1 August 2018, you will need a prescription from your diabetes healthcare professional eg your GP or diabetes specialist.

Discuss which one of the four CareSens meters is right for you.

Accu-Chek Performa, testing for glucose

White and red meter with 2 buttons.

You have access to this meter through a Special Authority because you were using an Accu-Chek Combo Insulin pump prior to 1 June 2012 You will need to change the meter you use. You are eligible to change to one of the funded CareSens meters.

If you have Type 1 diabetes you can change to a CareSens Dual meter
From 1 August 2018, you will need a prescription from your diabetes healthcare professional eg your GP or diabetes specialist.

Discuss which one of the four CareSens meters is right for you.

Sensocard blood glucose test strips, testing for glucose for the visually impaired

White meter with one button.

You are using funded SensoCard blood glucose test strips with your voice meter You will not need to change the meter and test strips you use.