Covid-19: limits on Libre

Quarantine Day 11:

“Safeway pharmacy, how may I help you?”

I was running low on insulin and had been putting the order off for a few days. When I finally got around to the call, my husband suggested I stock up on other supplies as well. He’d heard that some people were having a hard time acquiring their meds.

Maybe I’m self absorbed or just plain naïve, but honestly, I didn’t think my diabetes and I would be denied.

Oh, how wrong I was.

“I’m sorry, you can only order one of those at a time, and we have a long waitlist of people ahead of you.”

It seems Covid-19 has put certain diabetes supplies on a moratorium.

My pharmacy order included insulin, Freestyle Libre sensors, and test strips.

I usually order a three-month supply of each at a time because I don’t like to run out.

They were okay with my order for insulin and test strips, but not the Libre sensors. I was limited to one sensor only, and it was unclear when it would be ready.

I ordered the sensor, but was completely flabbergasted.

One sensor is the equivalent of a two-week supply, or less if the sensor malfunctions, or prematurely comes off, like say,

  • When I get out of the shower and quickly dry myself off, accidentally ripping the sensor from my arm
  • Or, when I get home from a run and remove my sports bra, taking the sensor along with it

If I don’t have backup, that’s a concern.

Libre restriction
My last remaining sensor 🙁

Yes, I have test strips, and that’s great, but our improved technologies have created a reliance on the comfortability of it all, and frankly I don’t want to lose that.

I contacted Bayshore Specialty Rx, the pharmacy that Abbott uses in Canada for its Libre sensors. They told me I had a max of 28 refills remaining for the year, and that I could order 7 sensors on the spot if I cancelled my Safeway order.


I asked if there was a Covid-19 restriction in place, but didn’t get a clear answer.

She told me that she couldn’t speak specifically to my pharmacy. She mentioned that my provincial government may have put a restriction on the number of sensors I could order (which, hasn’t yet occurred for me, so why would it now).

When I got off the phone with Bayshore, I called my local pharmacy back to try and get a clearer understanding on why they had this restriction implemented.

The pharmacist, who showed great amounts of empathy, told me that the manufacturer (Abbott) had limited the distribution of the sensors to all pharmacies. That meant they were only getting one box a day from the distributor. I asked if she knew why the limitation was put in place, but she said they hadn’t been told anything.

She also told me that sensors weren’t the only things being restricted during the Covid-19 pandemic; several other medicines have had restrictions put in place as well.


Are you kidding me?

If this is a Covid-19 response, how is it logical? Those of us with medical conditions are at higher risk for poorer health outcomes for any kind of virus/illness, not just Covid-19. We need to keep ourselves in optimal health, and our diabetes supplies (Libre included) are significant components of doing so.

I don’t blame the pharmacy, but I don’t yet know who to blame, nor who needs to address this situation.

Abbott told Connected in Motion, “We are closely monitoring the coronavirus across our business operations. At this time, there has been no impact on availability of Abbott’s diabetes care products. We will continue to monitor the situation throughout our global manufacturing and distribution network as things continue to evolve.”

That doesn’t exactly align with the story I’m receiving.

I’ve sent inquiring emails to my MLA in New Westminster, as well as the provincial health minister. I’ve also sent a message to Abbott requesting more information.

I will keep you all posted when I find out more.

3 thoughts on “Covid-19: limits on Libre”

  1. Hey Katie,

    This is interesting and I’ve been lucky so far not to be limited on any of my “regular” orders through my usual pharmacy. However, Libre sensors will be the next thing on my list so I’ll be interested to see what happens.

    If you get any more information, would you mind dropping me a quick line to let me know? I’d be interested to hear what they had to say in the event I start having to deal with the same issue.


    1. Hi Shawn,

      I’ve just posted a new update on the Libre sensor issue in my latest post. In Canada, there appears to be NO issue with the supply chain, but some pharmacies have been implementing the restrictions as a means of reducing the potential for hoarding. Diabetes Canada has also recommended a one month supply restriction on all diabetes meds/supplies during the coronavirus crisis for the same reason.

      Good luck!

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