The FreeStyle Libre will be available on the NHS from November 1, Abbott has announced.
The NHS Business Service Authority has approved the FreeStyle Libre on the Drug Tariff which means, subject to local health economy approval, it will be available without cost for patients across the UK.
The news is a welcome boost for the diabetes community as previously patients using the FreeStyle Libre have had to pay for the device. A starter pack which includes the reader plus two 14-day sensors costs £159.95.
“We are delighted with the Health Services’ decisions, and we look forward to partnering with them to provide the several thousands of people with diabetes with our innovative technology to help manage their condition,” said Neil Harris, general manager of Abbott’s UK diabetes care business.
The FreeStyle Libre is a revolutionary flash glucose monitoring system which reads glucose levels through a sensor on the arm, eliminating the need for finger pricks.
Its convenience and success rate has led to backing from healthcare professionals and several clinical trials have reported its efficacy. Earlier this year it was approved for use in pregnancy in diabetes.
While the device conducts flash glucose monitoring it is not technically a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). The data provided is similar, but unlike CGMs the Libre does not alert users when their glucose levels fall too low.
However, it does allow users to review changing sugar levels through the day and night in graphical form. This can be particularly useful for minimising the risk of hypoglycemia during the night.
A range of charts provided by the Libre helps to review trends and patterns over time, allowing users to make more informed decisions regarding their treatment.
Because the availability of the FreeStyle Libre will be down to local health economy approval, it is not guaranteed to be available for everyone. The Libre may therefore be offered to those people with type 1 diabetes who have a greater clinical need for the device.
Benedict Jephcote, Editor of, said: “The FreeStyle Libre offers significant advantages over blood glucose testing alone and we hope that the system will be made available to as many people that wish to benefit from it as possible.”

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