Following social media outcry, the Brazilian Ministry of Health is discussing final steps with the National Committee for Health Technology (Committee) to make rapid-acting analog insulin available for people with type 1 diabetes in the Brazilian Public Health System (SUS).
The Secretary of Science, Technology and Strategic Inputs from the Ministry of Health signed the incorporation on February 22, 2017. It is critical for the health of people with type 1 diabetes to have accessibility to more effective analog insulins and the delay of almost one year is unacceptable.
Advocates, people with diabetes, committee members and government representatives expect that the change in insulin benefits for people with type 1 diabetes will take effect by July 2018. Under discussion are the determining criteria for patient qualification. Draft recommendations include:
People who have used regular insulin for at least three months.
People who are under the care of an endocrinologist and are seen at least twice a year.
People who perform self-monitoring blood glucose tests a minimum of three times a day.
People who have had severe hypoglycemia over the last three months, and/or who have had repeated and/or nocturnal non-severe hypoglycemia.
The Committee also highlighted how people with type 1 diabetes who qualify must also have access to at least 100 test blood glucose strips for testing per month, and for pregnant women, 150 to 200 test strips in order to achieve best self-monitoring practices and safety.
The Juvenile Diabetes Association Brazil (ADJ) was invited to attend the disclosure of the meeting protocol for 20 minutes but was asked to leave for the final discussion according to the National Committee for Health Technology protocol procedure. ADJ was not given access to the final discussions.
Other issues which need defining include the type and size of the insulin pen, determining reusability, and the place of dispensing (primary care offices or specialized care).
The bidding procedure to purchase the rapid-acting insulin took place on April 2nd and at the time of publication, ADJ has not been informed of the results.
The advocacy leadership of ADJ is closely monitoring each step and believes that newer, faster insulin and technology will benefit the Brazilian population by decreasing the number of diabetes complications and hospital stays due to lack of access.
Vanessa Pirolo is a journalist, Advocacy Coordinator for ADJ Diabetes Brazil and a member of the board of the IDF South and Central America (SACA) region.