Annual quantity limits - BGTS

Last updated: August 1, 2023

PharmaCare covers a maximum amount of blood glucose test strips for an individual each calendar year. The amount is based on the diabetes treatment they are receiving.

On this page: Annual limits | How your limit is tracked | How often you should test | If you need to test more often

Research shows that most people with type 2 diabetes who are not using insulin do not need to test their blood sugar routinely. There is little evidence that frequent self-monitoring of blood glucose, without a medically valid reason, improves diabetes care.

Most people can test at the recommended frequency within the quantity limits. If you need more than the annual limit, see What if I need to test more often? 

Note: in the table below, If you are in more than one category, and not using a CGM/FGM, the higher limit applies.

Annual limits

Treatment category Notes Annual limit
With insulin and without the use of a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) nor a flash glucose monitor (FGM) If you take insulin and are not also using a CGM or an FGM, this limit applies whether or not you are also taking other diabetes medications. 3,000
With insulin and with the use of a CGM or FGM If a you are using a CGM or FGM, you may also occasionally need blood glucose test strips (for example, if you see an error code on you CGM/FGM or if your symptoms don’t match your monitor's readings). 200
Anti-hyperglycemic medications with a higher risk of causing hypoglycemia Drugs with a higher risk of hypoglycemia include insulin secretagogues:
  • Sulfonylureas such as glyburide, and
  • Eglitinides such as repaglinide
Anti-hyperglycemic medications with a lower risk of causing hypoglycemia Drugs with a lower risk of hypoglycemia include:
  • Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors such as acarbose
  • Biguanides such as metformin
  • Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors such as linagliptin
  • Incretin mimetics/glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1) agonists such as semaglutide
  • Sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors such as empagliflozin, and
  • Thiazolidinediones (TZDs) such as pioglitazone
Through diet/lifestyle -

How your limit is tracked

Each time you pick up a prescription, your pharmacy records it in PharmaNet. PharmaNet determines the proper test strip limit. If your treatment changes, PharmaNet automatically updates your annual limit of test strips.

Each time you buy test strips, the number of strips you bought is deducted from your annual limit in PharmaNet. Your pharmacist can let you know if you have exceeded your limit. You can also contact us to find out how many strips you have left for the year.

Pay attention to expiry dates. Make sure you don’t buy strips that will expire before you can use them.

How often you should test your blood glucose levels

If you aren’t taking insulin, you should test your blood sugar levels only when you have a reason to test.

Your doctor and diabetes educator can answer your questions. There are also helpful online resources:

If you need to test more often

In certain circumstances, you may need to test more often.

Your doctor—or a health professional at a diabetes education centre or primary care network—can send a request to PharmaCare for coverage of additional strips if you are not using insulin or are using a CGM/FGM  and you have:

  • Not met blood sugar level targets, as determined by a physician, for three months or more
  • An acute illness or other condition that may affect your blood glucose control
  • Had changes in your drug therapy that may affect your blood glucose control (such as starting or stopping medications that induce hypo- or hyperglycemia)
  • A job where hypoglycemia presents a significant safety risk (e.g., pilots, air traffic controllers, commercial drivers)
  • Gestational diabetes

Children under a Nursing Support Service using a CGM/FGM may qualify for additional strips. Your physician can submit the request to PharmaCare for additional strips at the same time that coverage for the CGM/FGM is requested.

Note: In the rare case that you have a medical need to test even more frequently, or if you take insulin and need to test more frequently, your endocrinologist can submit a request to PharmaCare for additional strips. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.

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