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Living abroad with diabetes

Discussion in 'Diabetes Soapbox - Have Your Say' started by henryhere, Oct 4, 2017.

  1. henryhere

    henryhere Type 1 · Newbie

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    Hello everyone
    I'm new to the forum and hoping to find people in a similar situation.

    I was diagnosed type 1 in Jan 2015 and have since moved to Taiwan. There is an excellent national health service here and with my alien residency card I'm able to receive free or heavily subsidised treatment. The only thing I am unable to receive for free so far is test strips, which I have to buy in a pharmacy myself. They're readily available but quite expensive, about NT$800 for 50 strips (~£20) I need to test regularly (at least 3 times s day) so need to pay about £40 a month. Income is lower here so I feel it when I need to buy them.
    It reminds me how lucky we are in the UK to have everything for free!

    I was wondering if anyone had a similar experience? Obviously, I would be particularly interested if someone knows how to get free test strips. Or perhaps there is a way to have them sent from the UK?

    Many thanks
     
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  2. Guzzler

    Guzzler Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    You could try Amazon?
     
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  3. helensaramay

    helensaramay Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    My understanding is the NHS should not fund prescriptions if you are out of the UK for more than 6 months.
    I know some people (e.g. when travelling for a year pre/post-uni) get around this by not declaring they are absent, continuing their repeat prescriptions and getting friends and family to ship/send/bring supplies.
     
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  4. TheBigNewt

    TheBigNewt Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Yeah just have 'em sent to your UK house and have someone mail 'em to you in Thailand. My insurance doesn't provide test strips. I get them via Diabetes Wholesale website, the brand is TrueTrack, and they cost 20 cents US apiece. So 50 strips would cost you about 10 pounds. Meters are free if you order a few hundred (free shipping for me).
     
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  5. Celsus

    Celsus Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    @henryhere, I have been abroad now for past 25+ years as Type1, so tried quite some variations around that theme.
    Most countries have in general become better at supporting diabetics with supporting equipment free of charge or at cost price. But some of the more exotic places in this world you are still on your own, including with insulin and all.
    Regarding your specific situation in Taiwan it largely depend on if you are locally employed and pay all your personal income taxes in Taiwan or if you are there as an expat from UK, working there on a time-limited or project limited duration employed by a foreign entity while still paying personal income tax back in the UK?

    If its the 1st option, then @helensaramay is correct in her guidance above. You are essentially left to care for yourself under the local country conditions, whatever they may be.
     
  6. Red shaw

    Red shaw · Member

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    Wouldn't that be fraud? If you are not a UK resident (even if you are a citizen) I think claiming NHS supplies would be illegal. It's not a bottomless money pit.
     
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  7. .gurley

    .gurley Type 1 · Member

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    Yes more difficult and the strips are always the issue!!! look at Amazon and Ebay USA as they always have competitive prices on glucose test strips, I use a relative in the UK to help me get meters as they are available free, no it is not fraud as you will end up buying their test strips anyway so they will benefit in the long run! You may have to pay some import taxes but usually for medical its a lower rate in most countries. I have lived and worked in several countries with my condition and I commend you for doing similar. As we have a chronic condition it is important to show we are capable of anything with Diabetes to show how capable we still are. So well done and good luck finding cheaper strips for testing. Graham
     
  8. MPetzsch

    MPetzsch Type 1 · Member

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    Hi Henry,

    Very jealous that you are in Taiwan, I have been meaning to go there for ages! I am also a relatively new T1 and just moved to Hong Kong. I brought a hefty top up of my prescriptions with me here but will need to sort out a local clinic/prescriptions here. I will let you know if they have test strips in HK. If so you may as well visit (as I guess you might anyway while you're there?) and top up here. Or I can post some to you if you want, if I find them for cheaper!
     
  9. bangkokdiabetic

    bangkokdiabetic Type 2 · Member

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    I have the same problem in Thailand I buy my accuchek performa strips on line from India I can buy 100 strips for the same as 25 strips here but it will depend on your meter Incidentally they post them free world wide
     
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