Markup on Test Strips

Hey You Guys,

Can you believe that the markup on glucose test strips is roughly 900%?!

That’s what I’ve learned from LA Times columnist David Lazarus, who wrote a Guest Post on today:

When queried on the number, he tells me “That figure was from a column I wrote on the subject a year or so ago. Looks like it costs 10 cents or so to produce each strip. So at a retail price of $1, you have one of the biggest markups in the business world – especially for a product whose R&D costs were covered long ago.”


You know, if we can get a congressional inquiry into why text messages cost so much…

I read about this in your blog a while ago, when we were working in the diabetes supplies video. For me it is terribly frustrating and sad… when so many people stop testing because they can’t afford the cost of the strips. It is just too much.

There has to be so kind of regulation on this. 900% of markup on supplies that are vital for so many people… it just makes me sick…

I have to hope it isn’t true. But I think I need to invest in the meter/strip companies.

I suppose they can say they put so much work into research and developing them, they have to have a high markup. (I still think it’s incredibly wrong, but I’m just guessing what reason they would give.)

i’m going to pretend i didn’t read this…especially since i don’t have insurance!!

Well, if you read the article, you’ll see that the degree of markup is merely his opinion, and purely speculative.

The price of test strips is inflated, I believe because of medical insurance standing in the middle between most consumers and their strips. If everyone had to pay out of pocket for strips, you’d see the price go down significantly. The worst part of this is that people without insurance have to pay essentially what the insurance companies pay for strips- and given the size of the insurance companies’ wallets and their mandate to pay for the product, we know the manufacturers aren’t giving them bargains.

In North America : wonder what was better …I recall my first glucometer meter 1985( ? ) …CAN $ 279,00 , strips about $ 17,00 for a vial of 50 ( or was it 25 ??) …today one can obtain most often free meters . I agree these present numbers are outrageous .

Just to offer some insight from another part of the world, I live in Hungary and I have a meter produced by a Hungarian company (Elektronika 77– reviewed by David Mendosa as one of the most accurate meters) and the test strips for the meter are actually manufactured by Accu-chek. Point being, this is a GOOD meter, but available only on the Hungarian market.

Here are the prices for meter and strips WITHOUT government support:
Meter = 45 US dollars
Strips = 15 dollars for 50 strips = 30 cents per strip

That tells me that in a different system, test strips CAN be cheaper.

I’ve only been diagnosed with Type 2 for 1 year now so it’s all pretty new to me. I was using the Contour meter which I love but my insurance doesn’t pay anything on them. I’m fortunate to live in a big city and have access to Clarian Hospital where I had my initial diabetes classes last summer. I was really getting frustrated with the cost of the strips. My diabetes educator there referred three other possibilities and one of them was the ReliOn sold/distributed at WalMart. It is made by Solartek and was rated highly in one of my diabetes magazines. A box of 100 strips runs around $25.00 which is very affordable. If you ever feel you have a need for the control solution, just call them up and they send it to you free. I’ve been very contentent with them and buy them exclusively now.

The ReliOn Ultima Blood Glucose Meter (sold exclusively at Walmart) is indeed the same thing as a Precision Xtra, both are manufactured by Abbott. The ReliOn Ultima has one missing key feature. The Precision Xtra test blood glucose as well as ketone levels using separate strips. You cannot use the ReliOn meter for ketone testing.

The ReliOn Ultima will accept Precision Xtra glucose strips, however the Precision Xtra will not accept the Ultima strips.

This makes a very affordable solution for people without insurance who must pay 100% out of pocket for their supplies.

Okay–remember I’m fairly new at this–why would you want to test ketones?? Is that found in the blood?? I thought ketones were found in urine. Where do you buy the Precision Xtra meter and are the strips as affordable as the ReliOn strips? Anybody will give you a meter but then it’s the high cost of the strips that can force some people to use a less expensive meter.

I just remembered …some of the meter companies will provide FREE batteries for their glucometers …make certain you are registered with your glucometer company and check out before hand …a saving …batteries are darn expensive !!

Thanks for the heads up. I had no idea markup was that high! I think we should put pressure on our legislators, not that we have the same clout as the pharma lobbyists… Highway robbery.

In canada the meters are usually provided free in somesort of promo. Strips are on sale for about 0.65 canadian funny money each (about 58 cents US varies a lot ) minus a very small deduction on your income tax. Still more than in Hungary and less than in the USA except for Wal-Mart test strips which are unavailable at Canadian Wal-mart.

are we all moving to Hungary? agreed i’ll go. Kristen make some room

i pay $50 for 50 one touch ultra strips. i become slightly depressed when i empty all of the used ones out of my meter pouch.

Ketones start out in the blood stream. They are filtered out of the blood by your kidneys, which is why it shows up in your urine. Testing your blood stream for ketones would be much quicker and give a more accurate count of how high your ketone levels are. Remember, it’s not your urine ketone levels that can kill you… it’s the level of ketones in the blood!

The Precision Xtra is sold everywhere, however it’s an expensive brand name. I gave its name so people would understand that the Walmart home brand (ReliOn) is the same meter, with some missing features of the Precision Xtra.

Hope that helps. :slight_smile:



OK, Domo has our couch reserved :wink:

I’m in Australia. The last time I asked, test strips were AU$25 per 100. The meters were various prices, I think mine was about $45 two years ago. I joined the Diabetes Association here, and presto! Test strips now cost me 60 cents per 100. An unbelievable difference. I don’t know who covers any extra costs for those, or even if there are any extra costs. Could be what 100 test strips cost to produce and package. If I lived anywhere else I simply wouldn’t be able to buy them. Now, you all moving to Australia? That would be great!