Buying test strips online - is this safe?

Tomorrow is the day my insurance goes from decent to crappy. I found out while refilling some scripts yesterday that if I keep going to the same pharmacy, my cost for test strips will go from $15 for 200 strips, to $265. Needless to say, I’m looking for a cheaper source.

I’ve been searching the forums here and have found several links to websites where I can get the same strips for about 30% of the cost at my pharmacy. My question is, is it really safe to buy stuff like this online? Aren’t the strips super sensitive to heat, light, moisture, etc.? If I buy them from some faceless Amazon shop, for example, how do I know they haven’t been sitting in someone’s hot garage all summer? I’ve also heard of even lower prices if you get them on eBay, but that’s too scary for me to even think about. People selling leftover expired strips in new containers, etc. … No thanks.

Then again, even if I buy them from the pharmacy, I guess it’s possible they could have been sitting in a hot delivery truck. But somehow I trust the pharmacy more than an anonymous online shop. Am I being naive? Or paranoid?

Also, I’ve considered switching to a meter that uses cheaper strips (the ReliOn, for example). But I love my current meter (One Touch Ultra 2) and don’t want to change. It’s my first meter, and I feel almost sort of fetishy about it, like it’s my secret magic charm that will protect me from high blood sugar, complications, etc. etc… What if I get a different meter, and it’s not accurate? How will I even KNOW if it’s accurate?

It makes me mad that I’ve fallen into the trap set by the folks who gave me a free meter, in hopes I’d become addicted to the expensive strips that go with it. It seems like such a racket, since the strips cost next to nothing to produce. Still, using this meter makes me feel safe, and I don’t want to give that up just yet.

So – how do you know that the strips you buy online have been stored and handled properly? Do you just trust the supplier? Do they make any explicit guarantees? And if they HAVEN’T been handled properly, how do you know?

$265 for 200 OneTouch strips is very high!!! You should be able to get them for less than $200. Wal-Mart has them over the counter for that price.

Yeah, I thought so too! Very high … The words “rip off” also came to mind. I found a box of 100 for $55 on Amazon; that’s about the cheapest I’ve seen so far.

I buy strips on eBay all the time.

Contact Lifescan the maker of One Touch. They just sent me out extras because I did not get strips with a new meter.

I buy mine online all the time.

If you buy from an online pharmacy of good repute – such as American Diabetes Wholesale,, or Diabetic Express – then you may get insurance packaging or Medicaid packaging, but the strips will be of good quality. OTOH, if you buy them from an individual on eBay, it’s a bit harder to be sure.

I haven’t tried Overstock Drugstore yet, but their posted prices are very low, and they have still further discounts for “scratch and dent” packaging and short-date packaging…

I did try Overstock Drugstore and got 100 Freestyle strips for about $50 (half price-ish).

Like you said, many of them are in diagnostic packaging (like that given to CDEs and endos) or labeled “not for retail” but they are the exact same strips at a discounted price. Most of these companies will guarantee their products are unopened and unexpired. I would trust some of these overstock retailers over an individual seller in that regard, but even eBay backs their sales. If you’re unsure, you might pay via credit card so you can more easily dispute for a refund if necessary.

Health Warehouse has great prices and is a sponsor of TuD. I have bought from them and the strips were well within the expiration date (I think the ones I bought expire in 10/2009)!

I’ve been buying them online at Ebay and have been getting 30-70 percent off. Buying them is a bit of trick though, because you need to know what to look out for.

Here’s an article about buying glucose strips online safely at EBay

Tmana mentioned I’d highly recommend them … I used them for years when I was under my previous insurance plan and got great prices and quick delivery. They also get some freebies (samples) of all kinds of stuff that they’ll throw in with the order if you ask for it.

Also, even though it’s an online site, there is personal service. I remember once, shortly after moving, I checked my email receipt and it still had my old “ship to:” address. I called up, and the person on the other end specifically remembered filling my order, catching the error, and assured me that it had already been corrected. My strips were at my door the next day.

A bit of caution for any online sites: Don’t assume that the box of 100 costs less, per strip, than the box of 50. I found that the OneTouch Ultra strips at Hocks were usually cheaper by the 50-pack.

I am like Misty. I found that Health Warehouse is even cheaper on some strips than American Diabetes Wholesale. I also went to and order my Breeze 2 discs. They are shipped from Health Warehouse but are $1 cheaper per box that way and no shipping charges.
thanks Misty for mentioning that website!

I buy Freestyle test strips on line at Ebay. I pay less than half of what I would pay at the pharmacy. I think people who are on Medicare, sell the strips they get and don’t use. Most of the boxes I receive are marked “not for resale”. I always check the expire date before buying. Also check the sellers rating.

Excuse me, but I believe you are participating in an illegal activity. Selling something obtained from Medicare is criminal. Stealing from Medicare costs us all tax dollars. Abetting that activity doesn’t make it right.

They’re not being sold by Medicare patients. Normally these items are being sold completely legally. The fact that they are labeled not for resale means that they are overstock strips used for diagnostic purposes (such as those kinds sent to educators and endocrinologists). Wholesalers with ebay accounts sell these products.

That same thing sort of happened to me, I switched to another meter that I got for free and the strips were also cheaper, also alot of diabetes supplies are shipped through the mail, so just make sure you trust where you are getting them from