Andrew Mullard reckons diabetics have enough to contend with without the Federal Government imposing more costs on them.
Regular visits to GPs, the cost of medication including insulin, trips to dieticians, podiatrists and optometrists and now the extra burden of blood test strips is pushing their medical expenses to the limit.
Mr Mullard, of Windella, was diagnosed about seven years ago with type 1 diabetes. He will still received subsidised strips, but his type 2 counterparts will now have to fork out $60 for one pack of 100 test strips.
The Australian Government has introduced chages to the strip subsidy which will directly impact on type 2 sufferers who are not insulin dependent. Under the changes some diabetics will see prices for the bloood test strips rise from $1.20 to $60. Initially diabetics would use their Diabetes Australia card at a chemist to receive the over the counter strips at a discounted price.
While there has been a six month grace period, those unable to get to their doctor, diabetes educator or nurse for an NDSS blood test approval form, now face paying full price for the strips. Prior to the changes it was not necessary to visit a doctor to obtain approval for the test strips.
A federal health department release said that the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee recommended the subsidy be removed. An independet review of products used in the management of diabetes 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 on insulin.
The moved has sparked concern from diabetics like Mr Mullard who fear that some sufferers may bet lazy and put off buying the test strips which could be detrimental to their health.
"You need to know what your blood sugar reading is rather than just relying on physical symptoms which show your sugar is high or low," Mr Mullard said. "This is just a massive cash cow. Diabetics are making medical practitioners, the government and pharmacists very rich. This is a rip off.”