FreeStyle Test Strip Update

I just spent several hours talking with Insulet, Abbott, and Aetna about this issue. After several weeks of being aware of the issue, not one of these companies is taking responsibility for solving the it.

Insulet said they are filing for FDA approval to use the new strips. They gave no estimate of whether this would be expected to take weeks, months, or years. Of course from their point of view, it's not their fault Abbott changed the strips. Maybe not, but they chose to embed a FreeStyle meter and should keep up with product changes. I have tried several times to at least get them to post a message on their support website.

Abbott said they are not responsible for Insulet getting approval or for the pharmacy shipping the "wrong" strips. The new strips are approved for use in the Abbott meters that they sell. What kind of partner are they? However, in new information to me at least, they explicitly said the company is NOT discontinuing the "old" strips. They suggested I talk with the pharmacy (Aetna Mail Order) and tell them to carry the old strips.

Aetna said they only carry one strip (the new version), don't know anything about the problem, won't reimburse for the "new" strips they already sent out, and won't take the strips back ("against the law"). One person suggested I just go to different pharmacies and buy them on my own. Real helpful. They said to file a grievance.

A big, confusing, circle. We are all left with no solution.

If Insulet is trying to get FDA approval, doesn’t this mean that the new strips work?

Who knows. You would think they would work since the meter inside the PDM is just a FreeStyle Flash from Abbott. I’m sure nobody wants to take on the liability until they go through all the normal channels. Plus, some people are reporting errors.

Thanks for keeping us posted, A. Hopefully one of the involved parties will change their stance and the issue will be addressed and corrected. If people cannot get the proper supplies or insurance coverage you’d think Insulet and Abbott will lose business.

When I got my last batch of test strips, about 3 or so weeks ago, the box came mixed with the new and old strips. I didn’t realize it till I took another box and it was the new ones.
The short of it, I called Insulet,(they knew about it) and Abbott sent me 2 boxes to replace the “new” ones I had and I had to send the “NEW” ones back to them. They sent me a return label to do that.
They also suggested I look in Pharmacies to find the “old” strips. They suggested a couple of CVS stores near me. What happens when I run out and cannot get them? They didn’t have an answer other than Abbott is “working on it”! A confidence builder isn’t it.

Not a “confindence builder” is right…I spoke to Insulet today to get this straght, and the rep told me of course “We are supposed to say ‘it wont work’ until we get FDA approval, but, as you can see, just by using them, they work fine” So I am not gonna worry about it anymore! PEACE All!

My new strips (quik wick with yellow vial) worked in my Omnipod. I called my local rep to make sure they were compatible. I put in the code that was on the back of the vial (16), so far my numbers have been consistent with my CGM’s and how I feel.


I verified that in fact the “new” strips and the “old” strips have the same NDC code (drug code) because Abbott considers them the same product. Hence, the reason the pharmacy doesn’t know the difference.

Also, talked to Abbott again just now and the best they could do was offer to exchange some of the strips and give me a phone number to find another pharmacy.

I have a call into the product group at Abbott that works with Insulet to see if I can get any really assistance.

As was noted earlier, the strips probably work fine but I’m not willing to risk my daughter’s health to find out.

I am sitting here with a brand new OmniPod for my son that I am not sure if I want to open:( I had no idea there was a problem with the test strips being covered. I mistakingly assumed if the OP was covered for me at 100% after I met my deductable the strips were covered with a normal $25 copay. Anthem is saying IF I get a precert and IF they approve it I will have a $40 copay (not the prefered test strips). I am a little concerned. I am not paying cash for test strips. I am not really happy about the extra copay. Thanks for posting. I am not sure what I am going to do. Let me know if there are any other options I should be checking out?!?!

Just to be clear, we are happy with the OmniPod and in our case at least with Aetna, the insurance covers a large portion of the cost of the strips (once we meet our deductible). The current issue with the test strips has to do with the verson of strip used–not coverage.

big, frustrated sigh I know that they don’t work because in a 3 way comparison (new Freestyle, old Freestyle and One Touch Ultra) with the same drop of blood the One Touch and Old Freestyle correlated and the new Freestyle was 60 points off.

I personally take issue with the FDA approval line of, um, BS (sorry I can’t think of a more politically correct term at the moment) because FDA approval doesn’t mean squat if the integrated meter was not modified to work with the new Freestyle strip. If I submit garbage and garbage is approved what good is that?

We have the OmniPod and our pharmacy filled the prescription with the new test strips at the same copay we have always been paying. I have begun using the new strips and they are working in the meter.

Our new strips are the ones that say “Freestyle” and not “FreeStyle Lite.” (As they always have been.)

Is the issue that your insurance won’t cover the new strips? Or that you were told they don’t work in the OmniPod? Because they were covered by ours and do seem to work.

I LOVE the new test strips. We were able to back down our lancing device from the 2 setting to 1, they take a tiny amount of blood, and the results seem quick.

If the OmniPod PDM has a Freestyle meter in it and the strips work in all the existing FreeStyle meters, I am not sure what the issue is here.

(See my comment below…they seem to be working just fine in our PDM.)

There is a large variance between meters anyway. The best way to test it is to use an old strip and a new strip in the same meter. And even then, they are allowed a 20% difference. In other words if your blood sugar was really at 100, it is acceptable according to standards, for it to read anywhere between 80 and 120.

Not that it’s acceptable, it is BS that companies are allowed this variance!

Our pharmacy covered the new strips at the same copay as always.

Do you have the FreeStyle promise card? It give a HUGE discount on the copay, up to $50 per month leaving you with a $15 copay.

The new strips are not approved for use with the OmniPod. Insulet does not recommend them. They are waiting for FDA approval and have told people to use the old strips. They may work fine but there is always a risk that there is something quirky about how the PDM processes the information I suppose.

I think the whole thing is a comedy of errors and none of the players look very good. Unfortunately we’re all sitting here with the wrong strips that may or may not work, and no solution. I am stuck with 1,000 of the new strips (which work great at using less blood) that I already paid for. Abbott said they would take 500 back. And then I have to shop around to find the old versions of the strips. I am looking for avenues to escalate the issue and have a friend who works for the FDA.

I work for a hospital and our in-house hospital retail pharmacy fills my scripts. Three months ago, they called me to ask if the Freestyle strips were being discontinued because all they could find from their distributors were Freestyle Lite strips. They finally found the regular ones for me but this month, my order had the new butterfly strips. I conducted my own personal test on the PDM and a Freestyle meter and the butterfly strips were only lower by 5 points. Amy Tenderich posted about this topic in July on where she reported that Abbott reps told her that the butterfly strips would be compatible with all Freestyle meters. As another poster pointed out, there’s just a regular Freestyle meter inside the PDM. From my own pharmacy’s response, I would guess that most pharmacies are going to stock the new butterfly strips even though Abbott says the old ones aren’t being discontinued. I think they’re going to be difficult to find. Personally, I liked the new strip as it was much easier to use with a much smaller blood sample. Since my test samples were only off by 5 points, maybe the new strip is more accurate, as Abbott claims.

The only problem is Insulet can’t/won’t endorse the new strips yet. That means if you do have any problems, they are out of the loop becasue they said not to use the strips. It seems logical that the FreeStyle Flash inside the PDM works the same as other FreeStyle Flash meters but we don’t know if there are any quirks to the way the PDM processes the BG number. I would hope for an emergency ruling from the FDA but I think it will take pressure from all of us.

i just went through a container of the new kinds… i barely noticed the change until i saw the little blood sucking window(couldn’t find the word). So… i don’t know i guess do what i’m doing? hmmm