Life-Saving Insulin Now More Affordable for 130,000 Australians - Hope 103.2

Life-Saving Insulin Now More Affordable for 130,000 Australians

Type 1 Diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little to no insulin and affects people of all ages.

By Georgia FreeMonday 12 Dec 2022Hope DriveHealth and WellbeingReading Time: 3 minutes

Life-saving insulin treatment is now more affordable for some 130,000 people living with Type 1 Diabetes in Australia – with the Omnipod DASH system, a wearable insulin pump technology, being added to the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) – bringing the cost of the technology down from $400 a month, to just $30 a month.

Dr Mike Freelander MP, paediatrician and Member for Macarthur joined Hope Drive to discuss the impact of the announcement – one that the community has been fighting for, for a long time.

A complex condition

Type 1 Diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little to no insulin and affects people of all ages – from babies to the elderly.

Blood sugar control is a major difficulty of the condition and, historically, people have had to rely on multiple daily injections to monitor glucose levels.

However, the Omnipod DASH system is a wireless, tubeless technology, which continuously delivers insulin while monitoring blood glucose levels in real time. Pods of insulin last approximately three days before needing to be replaced, and patients can monitor their levels using their mobile devices.

“It contributes to much better blood sugar control, which will reduce the number of hospitalisations and side effects, like kidney failure, blindness, heart disease and amputation,” Dr Freelander said.

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“Hospitalisations cost tens of thousands of dollars, just for two or three days. If we can prevent that… it’s a huge saving to the health system.”

“Hospitalisations cost tens of thousands of dollars, just for two or three days. If we can prevent that… it’s a huge saving to the health system,” – Dr Mike Freelander

Life of advocacy

Dr Freelander has been a part of the Australian health system for 50 years, with most of those years spent as a paediatrician, often managing children with complex medical needs.

In that time, he has seen major advancements in diabetes management – including the transition from urine monitoring to home blood glucose monitoring.

“When I started as a young resident, we didn’t have home blood glucose monitoring. People used urine monitoring which gave them the equivalent of their glucose levels about three hours prior,” he said.

“There was a much higher risk of hospitalisation.”

Dr Freelander has also seen major advancements in previously fatal conditions such as Cystic Fibrosis, where, through new medications such as Trikafta, many patients are able to live normal lives.

Now, as a federal member of parliament, Dr Freelander has turned much of his work to advocating for better health care in Australia and neighbouring countries.

“There is still a lot more to be done, but we also have things to do in the countries around us… Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, some countries in southeast Asia.

“If our neighbouring countries can get access to good healthcare, their countries will function much better,” Dr Freelander said.

“There’s a lot to do but I’m continually energised by the advances that science is making in health care.”

“There’s a lot to do but I’m continually energised by the advances that science is making in health care,” – Dr Mike Freelander

Listen to Dr Mike Freelander’s full interview on Hope Drive in the player above.