Can I get Libre on the NHS?


Libre reader following a 'flash'

Libre reader following a ‘flash’

“Can I get Libre on the NHS?”

If you live in the right area, and meet the local criteria, then yes.

Abbott announced in September 2017 that the NHS Business Services Authority had approved the listing of the FreeStyle Libre system, on the Drug Tariff. This means, subject to local health economy approval, it will be available on GP prescription in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland from 1st November 2017.

To see if your CCG has published a policy, check Diabetes UK’s map of Libre on the NHS

Points to note: 

  1. FreeStyle Libre will not be available on prescription to everyone straightaway. It will take some months for CCGs to develop their policy. As with any new product which goes on tariff, local clinicians and managers will need to agree pathways and monitoring of use of Libre
  2. The countries covered by the national formulary include England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
  3. The target cohort by Abbott is anyone with diabetes (any type) who uses intensive insulin management needing multiple blood sugar measurements (4 or more per day)
  4. Your GP will not be able to prescribe Libre unless the local CCG has agreed to put it in their formulary.
  5. If your CCG will not put Libre on their formulary, a letter from your clinic to your GP WILL NOT make any difference. The local system needs to agree first.
  6. There are no NICE guidelines on the use of Libre, only a Medical Innovation Briefing, which does not make recommendations.
  7. NICE is not working on any further guidances, advice or publications about Libre. 
  8. The RMOC (North) Position Statement provides advice and makes recommendations to local decision-makers across England. The status of RMOC recommendations and all other outputs are advisory. 
  9. If your GP cannot prescribe Libre you may wish to write to your CCG (ask your GP practice for the address) to ask if they have published a policy, and if they have given due regard to the RMOC advice.

Two reactions of particular interest:

Dr Partha Kar, Consultant Endocrinologist, Associate National Clinical Director for Diabetes (dated 17 September 2017)

Dr Emma Wilmot, Consultant Diabetelogist (dated 13 September 2017)

People who do not get Libre on prescription will still be able to buy direct from Abbott. Some local pharmacies are selling Libre at a discounted price – ask the diabetes online community on social media for locations of those pharmacies.

Libre website & webshop (be sure to tick the VAT exemption box)

To join the chat about Libre, have a look at the Facebook group

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