New fast-acting insulin listed on the PBS

2 minute read

Fiasp Penfill will be added next month, following announcements that Fiasp would be removed due to ‘commercial’ reasons.

A new form of fast-acting insulin aspart, Fiasp Penfill, will get PBS funding from 1 October and provide continued, subsidised access to fast-acting insulin for Australians with diabetes. 

The listing follows rising concerns for the 15,000 Australians reliant on the fast-acting insulin devices, Fiasp and Fiasp Flextouch, after sponsor Novo Nordisk said it was removing both from the PBS for “commercial” reasons in March. 

The new addition, Fiasp Penfill, contains the same type and volume of fast-acting insulin as Fiasp Flextouch, a pre-filled dial-a-dose insulin pen, but has a different mechanism. It is packaged as a cartridge compatible with Novo Nordisk’s insulin delivery devices such as NovoPen Echo. 

The conditions for access to Fiasp Penfill will be consistent with the previous Fiasp products.  

The medication can be used to treat type 1 or type 2 diabetes in children and adults over age one, via injection into abdomen, thighs or upper arm within 20 minutes of starting a meal. It should usually be used in combination with immediate-acting or long-acting insulin medications. 

It should not be used for anyone with a prior allergic reaction to insulin aspart or any of the inactive ingredients listed in the product information

Diabetes Australia CEO Justine Cain welcomed the PBS addition that she said showed that the government understood the importance of affordable diabetes medication. 

“Diabetes is a demanding and complicated condition that needs constant monitoring,” Ms Cain said in a statement. 

“Australians living with diabetes need access to the best available insulins and medicines, at affordable prices, to have their best quality of life and reduce the impact of diabetes-related complications.”   

The government secured a six-month supply-only arrangement for Fiasp in March this year, allowing the drug to be dispensed for six more months but no new prescriptions to be issued after 1 April. But there had been no word from the federal government on solutions from October onwards, despite six months of advocacy from the type 1 diabetes community. 

“This announcement brings significant relief for the more than 15,000 Australians who rely on Fiasp as part of their well-established type 1 diabetes management regime,” said Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation CEO Mike Wilson. 

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