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Health: Diabetes

Volume 689: debated on Thursday 22 February 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the same standards of blood monitoring of diabetics will be maintained following the outcome of their consultation on Part IX of the drug tariff. [HL586]

Maintaining and improving patient care was one of the key objectives of the department’s review of the arrangements for items under Part IX of the drug tariff, which included blood glucose testing strips. The final decision on the reimbursement price for some of these strips aimed to recognise the existing services provided by manufacturers to the benefit of patient care, while moving to secure better value for money for the National Health Service overall. I am satisfied that the final outcome represents a fair balance of considerations.

The department had been consulting on a proposed reduction in the reimbursement price for chemical reagents under Part IX of the drug tariff since October 2005. The proposed reduction was 15 per cent. The process concluded at the end of August and no empirical data are submitted to suggest that the proposed reduction was not justified.

However, some responses indicated that a reduction of 15 per cent might make it difficult for manufacturers to maintain the free provision of related services, including the supply of educational material, helplines and meters. Given this, we decided to implement a staged reduction of 12 per cent, effective on 1 October 2006, and a further 3 per cent only if manufacturers indicated that they would withdraw their free services.

Subsequent to that decision, all those manufacturers whose products were affected by the changes confirmed to the department that they would maintain the provision of free services. In addition, they have agreed to self-declare on a quarterly basis to the prescription pricing division of the NHS Business Services Authority, and that they will continue to do so.