Annual quantity limits - BGTS
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.
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, the higher limit applies.
|Treatment Category||Notes||Annual Limit|
|With insulin and without the use of a continuous glucose monitor (CGM)||If you take insulin and are not also using a CGM, this limit applies whether or not you are also taking other diabetes medications.||3,000|
|With insulin and with the use of a CGM||If a you are using a CGM, you may also occasionally need blood glucose test strips (for example, if you see an error code on you CGM or if your symptoms don’t match your CGM readings).||200|
|Anti-hyperglycemic medications with a higher risk of causing hypoglycemia||Drugs with a higher risk of hypoglycemia include insulin secretagogues:
|Anti-hyperglycemic medications with a lower risk of causing hypoglycemia||Drugs with a lower risk of hypoglycemia include:
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.
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:
- Diabetes Canada
- Diabetes Canada: Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose Interactive Tool - Use this handy tool to determine the best testing pattern for you
- PharmaCare Blood Glucose Testing for Type 2 Diabetes - Information Sheet - Available in multiple languages, this sheet offers information on when you might want to check your blood sugar levels. It also offers tips on managing type 2 diabetes
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 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 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 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.
Questions about PharmaCare?
Contact us. We provide interpreter services in over 140 languages.
- PharmaCare coverage of diabetes supplies
- HealthLinksBC: Checking your blood sugar
- Diabetes Canada
- Diabetes Canada: Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose Interactive Tool
- Information sheets in 7 languages about testing and quantity limits