FreeStyle Libre prescription rise after drug tariff approval
The number of prescriptions written for the FreeStyle Libre rose by 285 per cent in just a month following its NHS availablity last year, according to figures.
The numbers were calculated by the website Open Prescribing, run by the EBM DataLab at the University of Oxford.
The figures generated suggested prescription numbers for the device in November 2017, when it was made available in the NHS, was 169 and in December it increased to 651. Sensor numbers also rose significantly from 416 to 1,430 across the same timeframe.
Analysts calculated the numbers using anonymised data from NHS England about drugs prescribed by GPs. The raw data files are large and unwieldy, with more than 700 million rows, so the numbers are broken down making the data easier to follow.
Since the FreeStyle Libre was made available on prescription, subject to local health economy approval, fears of a “postcode lottery” have emerged.
In response, the Association of British Clinical Diabetologists (ABCD) resources to help healthcare professionals to get FreeStyle Libre onto their formulary. Since then, the organisation has also launched an audit aimed at collecting data to get a real-world view of the device.
Meanwhile, NHS England’s Regional Medicines Optimisation Committee (RMOC) issued a position statement about FreeStyle Libre, with advice aimed at Area Prescribing Committees.
The RMOC recommended that Freestyle Libre should only be used for people with type 1 diabetes, aged four and above, attending specialist type 1 care using multiple daily injections or insulin pump therapy, who have been assessed by a specialist clinician and deemed to meet set criteria.
Recently, Dr Partha Kar drafted a letter for clinical commissioning groups (CCGS) urging them to take “careful consideration” when developing FreeStyle Libre funding policies to ensure the technology is made available to people who will benefit.
The associate national clinical director for Diabetes and NHS England consultant in diabetes medicine laid out further clarification on local approaches to the device.