Next Up For #pricecheck: How Much For Diabetes Test Strips?
If you have diabetes: How many test strips do you use each day to check your blood sugar? And how much do they cost? As I’ve waded into the next phase of our #PriceCheck collaboration, I’ve learned these are not simple questions. The basics People with diabetes have a problem with insulin - a hormone that regulates the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Either their bodies don't produce it (Type 1 diabetes, which only affects about 5 percent of diabetics), or don't use it properly (Type 2 diabetes, the most common form). Diabetics must constantly check their blood sugar levels. This involves a glucose meter. You insert a test strip into the meter, then use a special needle to prick a finger and place a drop of blood on the test strip; the meter displays the result. The number of test strips people use each day "varies depending on the frequency that you need to be testing," explains Manny Hernandez, the president of the Diabetes Hands Foundation, which connects diabetics with information and social networks. The test strip results need to be accurate because people are relying on this data before injecting themselves with insulin, which is a "very powerful drug," Hernandez says. (He mentions that he's concerned that some cheaper test strips are not as accurate - I'll try to tackle that concern in an upcoming post.) Struggles with Strips But for many diabetics, purchasing test strips – whether online or through insurance – can be frustrating. Prices for the test strips vary widely. A quick search of our #PriceCheck database pulls up two results in Los Angeles: At the same Walgreens on Santa Monica Boulevard, a box of 100 Walgreens-brand test strips is $49.99, while a box of 50 Accu-Check Smartview test strips is $87.99. But cash prices can mean little to pat Continue reading >>
The Murky World Of Secondhand Diabetic Test Strips
Chelsea Arnold was getting into debt over tiny pieces of plastic: diabetic test strips. When Arnold was first diagnosed with diabetes she needed to test her blood sugar 10 times a day. She went to Wal-Mart and found that one box, which contained only a five-day supply of test strips, was $80. Arnold called her parents and told them she didn't know what to do. She didn't have the money. Arnold then did what a lot of people do when they need help: She searched on Google. She typed in the words "cheap test strips," and Craigslist came up. She bought eight boxes for less than $100. At Wal-Mart, she would have paid $640. Arnold said, "it was like having a life sentence and then realizing that there's a cure." With this Google search, Arnold stumbled into an underground economy for diabetic supplies. It's a market that offers a lower-cost option for test strips, though it is hard for customers to know where the boxes come from. Some boxes may be repackaged and unsafe to use, and some boxes are sold by diabetics who are desperate for cash. But many of them come from people who have health insurance and have accumulated extra test strips. Trey falls into this category. (He asked us not to use his last name, because he fears retribution from his insurance company, even though he feels he hasn't broken any laws.) He moved from one type of blood sugar monitoring system to another type of monitoring system and ended up with 20 extra test strip boxes. At that point, Trey began researching. He said, "Obviously No. 1: Is it legal to be able to sell test strips?" Trey realized that it is legal, with a caveat. "It's kind of a gray market as long as you don't get them from Medicare and Medicaid," he said. Trey then found a local buyer on Craigslist. It starts to look a little seedy here. Continue reading >>
Diabetes Test Strip Resale: A Million-dollar Grey Market
Diabetes care is a billion–dollar industry. And one of the biggest money–makers is a glucose monitoring strip, a chemically treated one–time–use piece of plastic. Patients place a small sample of blood on the test strip then insert it into a meter. The reading gives people with diabetes critical information about their blood sugar. An investigation by KUOW's Patricia Murphy found that this little plastic strip is also at the center of a grey market worth millions. This story begins in a 7–11 parking lot in North Seattle with a sign posted on the side of the soda machine. It's printed with four simple words and a phone number: I Buy Test Strips. For those in the know, that is people with diabetes, it's an invitation to connect with a guy like John Bourdeau. He'll pay as much as $20 a box for unused, unexpired, glucose monitoring strips. The strips normally retail for as much as $125 per box. Many diabetics can't afford them. Bourdeau: "We're an intermediary. We put people who have test strips who don't know how to dispose of them with people who have a need for them. So it allows them to test their blood." Bourdeau sells the strips to an online wholesaler in North Carolina for about $40 per box. The wholesaler then sells each box online for around $80. There are a lot of John Bourdeau's supplying a lot of wholesalers. What they're doing is legal, but just barely. And the market is fueled by poverty, crime and opportunity. Commercials: "Ibuydiabeticteststrips.com! I pay cash for your unwanted, unexpired and sealed diabetic test strip boxes." "Test strip rescues quick cash calculator. Using the quick cash calculator, we'll help you calculate how much money you can receive when you package and ship your surplus supplies to our warehouse." "Would you like to make s Continue reading >>
Cms Cuts Reimbursement For Diabetes Test Supplies
Community pharmacies can expect a two-step cut in Medicare reimbursement for diabetes testing supplies (DTS). CMS is decreasing the fee schedule amounts for retail DTS to the current mail-service fee schedule amounts on April 1, 2013, and then further reducing reimbursement to the national mail-service program single payment amounts on July 1, 2013. Together, the two imminent cuts add up to 72%, according to CMS’s fact sheet and news release issued on January 30. The reduction in reimbursement is part of the latest expansion of the Medicare Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) Competitive Bidding Program. “This program has already saved millions for taxpayers and beneficiaries while maintaining access to care,” CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, RN, MHA, said in the agency’s news release. But the reality faced by community pharmacists is that the announced new reimbursement amount—$22.47 for 100 lancets and test strips, starting July 1—doesn’t cover costs related to DTS. “It’s going to be less than we are actually paying for the supplies,” Lynn Connelly, BSPharm, owner of Medicine Mart Pharmacy in West Columbia, SC, told pharmacist.com. “The implication is pharmacies have got to decide: Do I continue to participate in Medicare, or do I not?” said John Coster, BSPharm, PhD, National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) Senior Vice President of Government Affairs. “And if I do, can I try to work with my patients to get them on strips to test that make sense for them and make sense for me? And I think that’s a lot of what’s going on right now.” Competitive bidding The DMEPOS competitive bidding program was established by the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act (MMA) o Continue reading >>
Secondary Market Arises For Diabetes Test Strips
Five words in a recent classified ad revealed that a secondary market for lower-priced diabetes test strips is reaching into the greater Pittsburgh area. “I Buy Diabetic Test Strips!” the ad in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette declared, with an 800-number and requirements that boxes be unopened and strips be unexpired. The secondary purchase and resale of test strips, typically advertised through Craigslist, is centered for now in Michigan, with several ads showing up in eastern West Virginia and western Maryland. With retail prices for test strips as high as $1.79 each, the so-called black or gray market finds people selling excess strips to buyers, who in turn resell them at sizable discounts. People with diabetes use these strips to test blood glucose levels, with those on insulin sometimes using 10 strips or more daily to manage their disease. Physicians, medical insurance providers and test-strip manufacturers warn about potential health risks from false readings from off-market strips damaged by heat or humidity, among other problems. “Products obtained from sources not authorized by LifeScan have been found to be counterfeit, stored or transported improperly, tampered with, stolen, associated with insurance fraud, illegally diverted or otherwise illegally obtained,” states LifeScan, the manufacturer of OneTouch test strips, the leading national brand. “LifeScan does not sell products through Amazon, eBay, or other online sources such as Facebook or Craigslist.” Strip search Several news reports have addressed the off-market sale of test strips. Some involve reporters spotting a buyer through Craigslist or other sites, with the exchange occurring in a fast-food restaurant parking lot, raising the specter of a black-market operation that begs the question of Continue reading >>
Do You Have Extra Diabetes Supplies You No Longer Need?
By Nicole Kofman and Kelly Close Twitter Summary: Learn how you can donate your unused diabetes supplies to help save peoples lives around the world: donate at this link. Before insulin was discovered in 1921, a diabetes diagnosis was often a death sentence. Nearly 100 years later, it still is in many places on our planet. This is particularly true in less developed parts of the world, where hundreds of thousands of people with diabetes don’t have access to the most basic life-saving resources that we often take for granted: insulin, strips, and meters. There are several organizations dedicated to bringing these resources to people across the world with diabetes – Life for a Child, Insulin for Life, Team Type 1 Foundation, and Marjorie’s Fund are just a few. We were fortunate to sit down recently with Dr. Mark and Carol Atkinson, President and Director of Insulin For Life USA (IFL USA), to learn more about their work and how people can get involved. We hugely support the work of IFL USA, which gathers unused diabetes supplies from the U.S. and sends them, free of charge, to people in need in disadvantaged regions. You can learn how to donate your unused supplies (insulin, strips, and more) at this link, and read below why and how IFL USA came to be. What amazing efforts the Atkinsons are making – and this is in addition to all that Dr. Atkinson is already doing at the University of Florida and with the nPOD Program. The Problem As Dr. Atkinson outlined in a recent highly praised piece published in the research journal The Lancet, there are several barriers to accessing diabetes supplies, including: High cost of insulin and blood glucose test strips; Insufficient health system resources applied to diabetes; Lack of diabetes education; and Lack of home refrigerati Continue reading >>
Signs Solicit Diabetic Test Strips For Cash
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – They say there’s a market for everything. You may have seen some signs around town that say “Ca$h for diabetic test strips” or “I traded my diabetic strips for cash.” Andrea Caldwell was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in January of 2016. “The doctor tells me to check at least three times a day,” Caldwell said. Checking her blood sugar level is mandatory. It’s a crucial monitoring step that happens multiple times a day for most diabetic patients. “If you don’t check your numbers, you risk your numbers going high and you can go into a stroke, a heart attack,” Caldwell said. She uses a meter and testing strips that come in a box. She said the strips can get costly. “With insurance it’s $25,” Caldwell said. Without insurance, a monthly supply can run someone thousands of dollars each year for a lifetime. So what if we told you there was some sort of unauthorized market for these strips? There are signs in several places around Louisville soliciting people to sell their testing strips for cash. >> More Health News from WAVE3.com The signs are handmade with a sharpie and cardboard and can be seen tacked onto street lights. They also come in the form of bus shelter advertisements. Pharmacist Rebecca Fletcher said the signs create a reason for concern. “For patients who may have an excess, it’s usually those who might not be compliant,” Fletcher said. “If you are selling your strips, it means you’re not checking your numbers, it means you’re not taking care of yourself,” Caldwell said. Caldwell also said she always runs out of strips near her refill time. To ration her strips out, she has to sometimes cut down testing from three times a day to twice. On top of that, both the Food and Drug Administration and the Continue reading >>
Suny Nurse Warns Of 'cash For Diabetes Strips' Scheme
(Patrick Lohmann | Syracuse.com) A diabetes expert at the SUNY medical school is warning about a potentially dangerous scheme that has popped up in Syracuse's North Side: Someone is paying cash for unused diabetes test strips. A half-dozen-or-so handwritten signs can be seen at various intersections promising "cash" for the test strips, which allow diabetics to gauge the amount of sugar in their blood several times a day. Those with the strips are asked to call a number, and the entrepreneur behind the business promises to "race over to you, so I can give my cash today!", he writes in an online ad. In a brief phone interview, the man identified himself as "Peter" and agreed to be interviewed. He later did not respond to repeated follow-up phone calls and emails. Kristi Shaver, an education team leader at SUNY's Joslin Diabetes Center in Syracuse, acknowledged that the test strips are very expensive, especially if diabetics don't have insurance, but she said the risks are too high in buying test strips on the black market. She said sensitive chemicals on the strips can be tainted if exposed to high or low temperatures. That could result in potentially "life threatening" consequences, she said. "I would never buy any test strip product out of the trunk of anybody's car," she said in a phone interview Tuesday. Shaver said a false reading could prompt a person with diabetes to inject too much insulin or eat too much sugar to try to maintain a healthy blood sugar balance. Those with type 1 or type 2 diabetes can use the strips six times or more a day, and perceived fluctuations in blood sugar between readings could result in bad health outcomes. She said she hasn't heard of a case where that has happened. The buyer's Facebook page features photos of handfuls of cash and bags Continue reading >>
Test Strip Subscription Guide
WRITTEN BY: Katie Doyle Note: This is part of our library of resources in Tools & How-to. Learn more about equipment and read personal reviews here. It’s no secret that the cost of diabetes has been getting a lot of attention lately, and most of it’s been negative. The price tag on general necessities like, you know, health insurance, then paying for insulin (another necessity), then purchasing the tools and supplies you require to successfully manage your Type 1 all add up. If you’re looking to cut down on Type 1 spending without neglecting your diabetes management, test strip subscriptions are one option to consider. We compiled a rundown of popular companies that offer test strip subscription services and researched each of them to give you some important info. Take a look! One Drop is a system that combines glucose monitoring with an app for your smartphone, making your diabetes management mobile and digital. The One Drop subscription service is called One Drop Premium. You pay an initial fee (about $80) for the One Drop Chrome setup, which includes a meter, lancing device, initial test strips, lancets and a case. You can then choose to pay annually or per month for a Premium subscription. If you chose the former, you’d pay about $40 per month. Subscribers are allowed to cancel anytime. This subscription includes 24/7 access to a CDE, who is available to answer questions, troubleshoot, and give tips and tricks. You can message your CDE right from the app and responses arrive within minutes! One Drop analyzes your usage of test strips and will send you the appropriate amount you need each month, essentially offering unlimited access to test strips. It will also let you know your estimated number remaining and will alert you when you are running low. Pros No i Continue reading >>
Four generations of blood glucose meter, c. 1993–2005. Sample sizes vary from 30 to 0.3 μl. Test times vary from 5 seconds to 2 minutes (modern meters typically provide results in 5 seconds). A glucose meter is a medical device for determining the approximate concentration of glucose in the blood. It can also be a strip of glucose paper dipped into a substance and measured to the glucose chart. It is a key element of home blood glucose monitoring (HBGM) by people with diabetes mellitus or hypoglycemia. A small drop of blood, obtained by pricking the skin with a lancet, is placed on a disposable test strip that the meter reads and uses to calculate the blood glucose level. The meter then displays the level in units of mg/dl or mmol/l. Since approximately 1980, a primary goal of the management of type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes mellitus has been achieving closer-to-normal levels of glucose in the blood for as much of the time as possible, guided by HBGM several times a day. The benefits include a reduction in the occurrence rate and severity of long-term complications from hyperglycemia as well as a reduction in the short-term, potentially life-threatening complications of hypoglycemia. History Leland Clark presented his first paper about the oxygen electrode, later named the Clark electrode, on 15 April 1956, at a meeting of the American Society for Artificial Organs during the annual meetings of the Federated Societies for Experimental Biology. In 1962, Clark and Ann Lyons from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital developed the first glucose enzyme electrode. This biosensor was based on a thin layer of glucose oxidase (GOx) on an oxygen electrode. Thus, the readout was the amount of oxygen consumed by GOx during the enzymatic reaction with the substra Continue reading >>
Choosing A Website To Buy Test Strips Online?
Buying a box of glucose test strips used to be simple; You drove to your local pharmacy, picked a box of test strips off the shelve, and headed back home. On a good day it took you from 15 to 30 min. Then you heard a whisper that you could buy test strips much cheaper online. “You can save time driving to the pharmacy; Your test strips will be delivered to your mailbox.” At first you did not believe it, but the more you heard about it, the more real it sounded. So, you decided to give it a try and buy some test strips online. You turned on your computer on and began searching: glucose test strips purchase online. And there you almost go shocked – oh my gosh – there are bajillion websites to buy test strips from. Where did all these websites come from? (The Internet) They all have difference prices and attractive deals; “I don’t know which one to choose!” Because we are living in the internet era, the choices are unlimited and the decision is difficult. Internet has created a new problem called “too many choices.” But don’t judge quickly! it has also given us the solution. It’s called online reviews and ratings. Choose A Website With Good Reviews Reviews and ratings are popular tools to support buying decisions of consumers. They are generated by the users and published online to provide others with a reliable source of information for their buying decision. If a company has good reviews, particularly third-party reviews, there is a good chance that they are reliable. What’s the value of reviews? We have all searched online for product reviews before purchasing a product. And we have shared our experiences online after the purchase. We know it’s quite useful to know someone else’s perspective when it comes to price, delivery, and shipping befo Continue reading >>
Comparing The Cost Of Diabetes Test Strips At Major Retailers
Where’s the best place to buy blood glucose monitor test strips over-the-counter? And which test strips are the most affordable? We took a look at the top blood sugar test strip costs at a few of the major retailers to see what the best deals are. Hands down, the ReliOn brand of test strips is the most affordable if you’re paying for test strips out-of-pockt at a meager 18 cents per strip (in a 50 count box) at Walmart and 35 cents (in a 50 count box) if you buy on Amazon. However, it’s only available at Walmart (and Amazon), so that can make it difficult if there isn’t a Walmart in your area. The next most affordable test strip is the Bayer Contour Next, which came it between 77 cents and 86 cents per strip in their 50 count boxes if you buy them at a brick-and-mortar store, or 24 cents per strip on Amazon. Lifescan’s One Touch Ultra Blue, Roche’s Accuchek Aviva, and Abbott’s Freestyle Lite came in at well over a dollar a strip at all the major pharmacy retailers, but all of them in under a dollar a strip if you buy on Amazon. Roche’s Accuchek Aviva came in as the most expensive test strip at every retailer, except Amazon, where it came in a whole 5 cents cheaper than One Touch Ultra Blue. Amazon is for the most part the most affordable place to buy your test strips out-of-pocket, unless you’re buying Walmart’s ReliOn test strips. In that case, you’re better off just driving to Walmart. Here’s the full breakdown: Walmart One Touch Ultra Blue – 50 count: $68.79 / $1.37 per strip Freestyle Lite – 50 count: $81.64 / $1.63 per strip Bayer Contour Next – 50 count: $38.88 / $.77 per strip ReliOn Prime – 50 count: $9.00 / $.18 per strip AccuChek Aviva Plus – 50 count: $82.27 / $1.64 per strip Walgreens One Touch Ultra Blue – 50 count: $79.9 Continue reading >>
Terms And Conditions
Please read the following terms and conditions carefully before selling your test strips and supplies. By shipping your supplies to us, you signify your agreement with these terms and conditions. I understand I can only sell supplies that are authentic, factory sealed, undamaged, unexpired (a full 30 days before expiration date) and have been properly stored per manufacturer specifications. I am the rightful owner or have been given permission by the rightful owner to sell these supplies. Furthermore, I signify that I did not, am not and will not violate any applicable law or regulation in obtaining these supplies, nor in selling them to CashForDiabetics.com. I represent and warrant that my sale and transfer of these supplies to CashForDiabetics.com will not cause CashForDiabetics.com to, or result in, CashForDiabetics.com violating any anti-money laundering, anti-terrorism, healthcare, or any other applicable law. I understand I cannot sell supplies that are prohibited for sale/distribution in the U.S., have undergone liquid damage, have been tampered with, have been improperly stored per manufacturer specifications or have been otherwise altered. If supplies do not meet all the aforementioned terms, and/or are ones that CashForDiabetics.com does not accept, I understand that I will be forfeiting my supplies and may not receive payment. If supplies meet all of the aforementioned terms and conditions, I understand that my payment will be dispersed within 2 business days of receiving my package and typically arrive 2-5 business days thereafter, but may take longer depending on mail speed. I am responsible for my package during shipping and CashForDiabetics.com is not responsible for packages that are lost or damaged by the U.S. Postal Service. I understand that shipping Continue reading >>
How Accurate Are Your Diabetes Test Strips And Glucose Monitors?
Last month, we asked people with diabetes to share what they pay for their test strips. It's part of our ongoing #PriceCheck collaboration. We've heard that the cost of test strips can vary greatly. We've also heard that these test strips - and the blood glucose monitors they're used with - can provide inaccurate data. As we've dug into this topic, people with diabetes and clinicians have told us that the inaccuracy of these strips and glucometers is a huge – and life-threatening – issue. Accuracy questioned Strip Safely is an online campaign intended to raise awareness about the inaccurate blood glucose test strips and monitors on the market – and spark change. Here's how it describes this problem: "Patients using meters that fail to meet accuracy standards face increased risks. Inaccurately high meter readings may cause patients to take too much insulin resulting in insulin shock. Conversely, meters that incorrectly show low results may keep patients from taking enough insulin. To [sic] little insulin may cause high blood glucose and possibly risky diabetic ketoacidosis." On the diabetes blog Six Until Me, Kerri Morrone Sparling wrote in 2011 about her experiments with different glucose meters. She has photos of several meters displaying very different blood sugar numbers. She writes: I know there is an "acceptable" 20% margin of error, but how would you even know to double-check your meter? This issue matters to me, and it matters a lot. These glucose meters are the only tools I have to monitor my blood sugars, and I make treatment decisions based on their results. I need them to be consistent, and accurate. If I'm treating highs that aren't high, I could end up with a serious hypoglycemic event. And if I'm treating lows that aren't lows, I'll end up running hi Continue reading >>
The Diabetes Test Strips Crisis: How Cutting Costs Is Robbing Your Health
Medicare and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) are choosing to lower costs at the expense of your health. They are allowing cheap and faulty diabetes test strips into the marketplace. Test strips that have been proven — the FDA admits — to give inaccurate glucose readings. This is dangerous for anyone who has diabetes, no matter what your age. We cannot allow this to continue and, together, we can stop it — and we must. I want you to write a letter to the FDA to keep bad strips out of the market. That’s it, that’s all, that simple. Go, as soon as you read this, and use one of the sample letters that has already been created for you at StripSafely.com. StripSafely was created by the diabetes online community with a single mission. To have the FDA create a plan to best ensure test strips’ accuracy. A plan that holds test strip manufacturers accountable to meet minimum accuracy standards — and reviews test strips’ accuracy after they enter the marketplace, when new lots are often found to be unreliable. Gary Scheiner, certified diabetes educator and author, says, “The 4 million plus people in the U.S. who take insulin typically base doses on meter readings. Inaccurate readings can lead to inappropriate dosing. This greatly increases the likelihood of severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and long-term hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).” Meaning, each blood sugar reading I get throughout the day tells me my starting point for every decision I make about eating, activity and how much insulin to take. Each of my daily diabetes decisions is based on that reading. If my reading is falsely high or low I will take an action that can cause me to fall into a coma or die or suffer diabetes complications. Another problem, says Scheiner, is if patients lose fai Continue reading >>