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Why Do Test Strips Cost So Much? (part 2)

Last week I was busy being blown away by the amazing technology of glucose test strips. But back to reality. Why do these things cost so much? Why do prices vary by 600% or more? From what I can tell on Consumer Reports, customer reviews, articles like this one in Diabetes Forecast, and comments on diabetes blogs, it seems like most meters and strips have pretty similar quality. So how do you choose? Meters have a variety of features. Some have backlights, which is nice in the dark. Some speak to you, which helps people with poor vision. Some can store more results in memory. Some hook to your computer or smart phone with a cable to upload results; others connect with wireless; others don’t have that function. Some create graphs for you of various types. Meters are temperature sensitive. Some can function at higher temperatures; others can work at lower temperatures. Some burn through batteries faster than others. Some seem to need a little more blood than others to get a reading. Diabetes Forecast says meters are so similar that some people just buy the cheapest one, and it works for them. But most meters are cheap. The cost comes in the strips. So the best meter might be the on Continue reading >>

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  1. turbocat

    Not that there is anything wrong with their strips. To explain:
    My husband was doing the shopping and we needed more strips for our ReliOn Confirm meter. I told him which ones, but he did not see exactly what I said, so he bought the Relion Ultima strips. (I guess he saw "ReliOn" and thought they were all the same.) He thought if they weren't right I could take them back and exchange them. I tried to, but Walmart will not accept returns for diabetic testing strips, due to "blood born pathogens". I told them that was stupid because it was unopened and all sealed up. They said they knew but still wouldn't take them. Is this normal? I've never bought diabetic supplies, so is this something I should have known?
    I was aggravated but bought the right strips and decided I would make my husband take the other ones back and talk to a manager. He tried. The manager was going to give him his money back but the computers wouldn't let him. My husband said, "their should be a sign posted so people know these are non returnable, I thought you could return anything to Walmart." There was a sign by pharmacy, but some genius had taken it down and put it behind the counter. My problem with that is, you don't have to pay for them at the pharmacy counter. In fact, when I was going to the first time (because they were in this plastic theft deterrent box) the woman at pharmacy told me to take it up front, they could remove the box up there, too. So, even if there is a sign by pharmacy, a customer might never see it. They need to put the sign right by the shelves where the items are.
    So my husband called Walmart corporate and registered a complaint. (They said we should hear something in 3 to 15 business days.) This was really irritating. With tax, those strips were $40! And what about elderly people on fixed income that might accidentally buy the wrong testing strips for themselves? It isn't fair, and it's ridiculous! "Blood-borne pathogens" from sealed up test strips?!
    So anyway, when you buy your strips at Walmart make sure you have the right ones or you are going to be stuck. BTW, if we don't get any satisfaction from Walmart, does anyone need some Relion Ultima test strips? I can work out a deal for you. :roll:

  2. Ann & Scatcats

    Oh boy, how annoying. Simba has had diabetes for 6 years now, and it has never struck me what if I bought the wrong strips and are clueless what the pharmacy here would do even if the box was totally unopened.

  3. MikeysMom

    It's not Walmart being a PITA, it's probably the law in your state; it is in mine-any products that can come into contact with blood cannot be returned. It may be an inconvenience for you, but blood-borne pathogens are a big deal, and they won't take the chance that they haven't been handled. For all they know, a hepatitis or HIV patient with diabetes could have drawn blood and then realized they needed a new box of strips, picked up the box, dripped blood on it...and presto, it's contaminated. It may seem like a long shot, but there are blood-borne illnesses that are devastating and incurable. The store isn't going to take that liability, especially if the law won't let them! Should they have had a sign, yes (mine has on on the diabetic supply shelf and the pharmacy counter (and at least at our local store, you have to ask for the strips; they aren't on the shelf.) But there's more than likely nothing the store manager or corporate can do on this one.
    My Relion products warn on the box that they can't be returned to the store, and if you have any issues, to contact the manufacturer directly. I don't know if the strips say that or not (I get them in bulk online because it's cheaper, and they aren't packaged the same), but that's probably your best bet. There should be an insert with a contact on it if it's not in the box. If they can't exchange them, list them on your local Craigslist or on ebay.

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