A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

In Britain, those with diabetes currently are fearing the loss of affordable access to blood glucose monitors, according to a recent report in The Times of London.

Charities focused on the diabetes sector have issued warnings that diabetics may be denied free access to the equipment after a government "consultation" on funding. The monitors are used by many of the country's 2.1 million people suffering from diabetes.

The newspaper reported that Diabetes UK said the move could increase long-term health risks if there are limitations on supply of the monitors which are essential for monitoring blood glucose levels.

It also said that the British In Vitro Diagnostics Association (London), representing manufacturers and distributors of the devices, said that the proposal could mean that patients will have to pay for the equipment rather that their obtaining the devices without charge through the National Health Services.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said the consultation is continuing.

The Times quoted her as saying that the Department of Health's objective "is to ensure that the NHS and taxpayers receive value for money on these products, while making sure that there is no adverse effect on either patient choice or patient care."

The association has put the proposed reduction at L 19 million, and the director-general said that the result of this reduction would be "disastrous."

The association said the industry has been given until June 6 to respond to the consultation, with the proposed reductions to go into effect Aug. 1.

"Prices for these meters range from 15 to 150, and it will be the most vulnerable patients that end up paying the highest costs," according to the association, and as reported by The Times.