Senators introduce bill to preserve access to diabetes supplies

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

WASHINGTON – Sens. Dan Coats, R-Ind., and Mark Warner, D-Va., have introduced a bill that they believe would help ensure that all Medicare beneficiaries have access to their preferred brand of diabetes test strips.

The senators introduced the bill, the Diabetes Supplies Act, on Nov. 16 in response to Medicare’s national mail-order program for diabetes testing supplies. As a result of the program, they say, the most commonly purchased brands of test strips are no longer available to Medicare beneficiaries through mail-order suppliers.

“All diabetes patients should have access to the same market of products, regardless of whether they receive Medicare benefits,” Coats said in a statement. “Diabetes patients deserve the right to choose what products will best help them manage their disease. Our legislation will improve quality and access for all diabetes patients.”

The bill would strengthen consumer protections by ensuring beneficiaries are informed of their rights to obtain their preferred products and by preventing auto-refills of unwanted products.

Additionally, the bill would ensure that suppliers seeking to supply diabetes test strips have demonstrated an ability to obtain the products included in their bids, and it would reinforce the authority of the Department of Health and Human Services to terminate suppliers who fail to comply with the terms of their bids.

The bill is supported by the American Association of Diabetes Educators, the American Association of Clinical Endrocrinologists and the Diabetes Access to Care Coalition.