NY Times Diatribe

The New York Times ran this article yesterday:
Health
Protecting Yourself From the Cost of Type 2 Diabetes [ http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/13/health/13patient.html ]
By WALECIA KONRAD
Published: November 12, 2010
Diabetes patients spend $6,000 on average a year on care, one reason only 25 percent of diabetics get the treatment they need.
Oh wow. A useful article about the financial burden of diabetes. Then I read further...
The article asks what steps can patients take to reduce the cost of diabetes?
1. TRY THE OLDER DRUGS FIRST
Older drugs are less expensive. Many are available as generics. Their efficacy has been proven over time. OK, so far.
2. SAVE ON SUPPLIES
Sounds good. There's a cheaper source, perhaps. No. Here's what the article said:

The best way to reduce the cost of supplies is to keep your blood sugar levels under control so that you have to test less often, advised Dr. Lipman. “If you can get your testing down to once a day or even three times a week, you can save money that way,” he said.

Dr. Lipman also suggested using lancets more than once to save costs. “If you keep a lancet sterile and put the cover back on, you can use it two or three times before it becomes too dull,” he said.

What the...?

Who is this Dr. Lipman anyway and what does he know about managing diabetes? The article identifies him as Dr. Marvin Lipman, chief medical adviser for Consumer Reports Health and a practicing endocrinologist in Westchester County.

Really? Oh my! Test three times a week? Use the same lancet up to three times? Would he tell a patient that it's OK to not take a full course of antibiotics if he couldn't afford all of the pills? Ugh! What frightening advice. Somehow I don't see Dr. Lipman as many people's dream endo.

Limiting testing is NOT the answer. Reusing lancets is NOT the solution. The solution is to get medical insurance, Medicare and Medicade to cover the cost. Otherwise it's just perpetuating the penny-wise pound-foolish mentality.

Policy makers (insurance and governmental) need to make the means available to manage this disease or else we all will pay the price in the end.

There is a definite goal to get diabetics who don’t need to take insulin, to test less (or to pay for their strips and lancets out-of-pocket). The cost some of these folk are looking for is “let these people die”.

Always the responsibility of the consumer. Blame is never placed on the staggering, obscene profit made by pharma price gouging. Interesting how the guns are never aimed at bringing presssure to make strips affordable. Other than greed, there’s no reason for strips to cost $1/ea. R&D costs have been recouped a million times over. Meter companies would still make a huge profit with the price cut.

Doctors are following the save money dictate by refusing to write perscriptions for adequate strips. T2 patients aren’t encouraged, & are often discouraged, from testing. Mind blowing. Many T1s also encounter obstacles getting an Rx for an appropriate supply. Insurance companies are likewise limiting how many strips they’ll cover.

Articles like this one certainly perpetuate the propaganda.

As an aside, most people resuse lancets many times. Many discussions here about how infrequently people change lancets. I go months. Not doing this as any cost-saving measure, but I just don’t bother.

I don’t know anyone who DOESN’T reuse lancets. My friend and I probably hold records for longest continuous same-lancet use!

I don’t know anyone either, Frances. We should have a TuD Golden Lancet Award for the most sticks with a single lancet.

Really? People re-use the lancets that much? I’m surprised by that since wound care is such a caution for people with diabetes.

I’ll admit I’ve re-used a lancet. But it was when my first reading looked wonky or a put my blood on the test strip too soon and had to re-test right then.

Really, truly! No chance of infection. No wound. I can’t even remember the last time I changed a lancet… Can’t imagine changing it 10x a day.

Meh… I’m the only one using my lancets… And they’re in the lancing device and don’t come in contact with anything else. I reuse the heck out of them. :slight_smile: As long as you wash your hands with soap and water, and don’t share lancets, it’s no big deal. Even if they didn’t cost a boatload, I consider it to be wasteful to change one for every test. I agree with you on the rest, though… No one can know they’re “managing” okay on just 3 tests a week. lol