Blood Glucose Testing
Research shows that most people with type 2 diabetes who are not using insulin do not need to test their blood sugar routinely, as there is little evidence that frequent self-monitoring of blood glucose without a medically valid reason improves diabetes care.
BC PharmaCare limits the number of blood glucose test strips it covers for a patient each calendar year. The amount is based on the diabetes treatment they are receiving.
|Treatment for Managing Diabetes||Notes||Annual Limit|
|With insulin and without the use of a continuous glucose monitor (CGM)||If a patient takes insulin and is not also using a CGM, this limit applies whether or not they are also taking other diabetes medications.||3,000|
|With insulin and with the use of a CGM||If a patient uses a CGM, they may also occasionally need blood glucose test strips. For example, if they see an error code on their CGM or if their symptoms don’t match their CGM readings.||200|
|Anti-hyperglycemic medications with a higher risk of causing hypoglycemia||Drugs with a higher risk of hypoglycemia include insulin secretagogues (e.g., sulfonylureas such as glyburide and meglitinides such as repaglinide).||400|
|Anti-hyperglycemic medications with a lower risk of causing hypoglycemia||
Drugs with a lower risk of hypoglycemia include:
|Through diet/lifestyle||No notes.||200|
Important: If a patient belongs to more than one category, and is not using a CGM, the higher limit will apply.
In certain circumstances, more testing is warranted, resulting in a need for more strips than a patient's annual limit.
If a patient meets one of the criteria below and is not on insulin or is a patient using a CGM, PharmaCare covers 100 extra strips per year with a Special Authority request from a prescriber or health professional at a diabetes education centre or authorized primary care network.
Criteria for additional test strips
- Not met glycemic targets, as determined by a physician, for three months or more
- An acute illness or co-morbidities, which may impact blood glucose control
- Had changes in drug therapy that may impact blood glucose control (e.g., starting or stopping medications that induce hypo- or hyperglycemia, drug-to-drug or drug-disease interactions)
- A job where hypoglycemia presents a significant safety risk (e.g., pilots, air traffic controllers, commercial drivers)
- Gestational diabetes
Additional test strips for a pediatric patient under Nursing Support Services using a CGM may be requested at the time of initial CGM request or with a CGM renewal request (using the CGM Special Authority request form).
Note: In the rare case that a patient has a medical need for even more frequent testing, or when a patient on insulin needs to test more frequently, an endocrinologist may submit a written request to PharmaCare for additional strips. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis. The letter should outline the need for the additional strips and the quantity required.
- See Limited Coverage Medical Supplies - Blood Glucose Test Strips for Special Authority criteria and form
- Diabetes Canada
- Blood sugar testing
- Monitoring blood pressure and foot health
- Developing an action plan
- PharmaCare patient information sheets in multiple languages. Tips for testing blood sugar and managing type 2 diabetes
- Diabetes educators, nurse practitioners, pharmacists at HealthLinkBC. Dial 8-1-1