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  #1  
Old 01-28-2011, 07:39 PM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is offline
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We Buy Diabetic Test Strips - Huh?

At the local dive BBQ take-out joint they had a bulletin board full of business cards left by various small entreprenuers. Home remodeling, lawn services, Mary Kay, used cars, etc.

So far, so ordinary. But ... I found a cheaply made one like this:
Code:
We Pay Cash for Diabetic Test Strips!
    Any Type, Most Brands
       Up to $17 Per Box
         Call 24 Hours
    (local mobile phone number)
(someaddress)@gmail.com
WTF???

If I'm diabetic I need my strips and won't be buying extras since they cost $. If I'm not diabetic I'd not be buying them because they cost $.

I don't think I'd be real inclined to buy strips second hand from this guy, assuming he has a resale business to go with his purchasing angle advertised here. So that doesn't seem an obvious winner of a business plan.

So what gives? Is there some black market in glucometer strips I've never imagined? Are they, like pseudephedrine, useful in illicit drug manufacturing?

Last edited by LSLGuy; 01-28-2011 at 07:41 PM..
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  #2  
Old 01-28-2011, 07:42 PM
drachillix drachillix is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LSLGuy View Post
So what gives? Is there some black market in glucometer strips I've never imagined? Are they, like pseudephedrine, useful in illicit drug manufacturing?
Some people get them free via various programs, insurance coverage, etc. Think of it as similar to people getting baby formula on WIC then selling it on Craigslist.
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  #3  
Old 01-28-2011, 08:53 PM
Peremensoe Peremensoe is offline
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Presumably diabetics tend to have a supply of them when they die.
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  #4  
Old 01-28-2011, 09:13 PM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is offline
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Originally Posted by spark240 View Post
Presumably diabetics tend to have a supply of them when they die.
Right. We donated Mom's to a local charity, but there are definately places who buy them & then resell them.
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  #5  
Old 01-28-2011, 09:19 PM
Dano83860 Dano83860 is offline
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Not all meters take the same test strips. Even the same company will use different test strips on different meters. If you change meters would have to change test strips. You would also have some left over.
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  #6  
Old 01-28-2011, 09:26 PM
gazpacho gazpacho is offline
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Originally Posted by drachillix View Post
Some people get them free via various programs, insurance coverage, etc. Think of it as similar to people getting baby formula on WIC then selling it on Craigslist.
I think that this is the correct answer. I don't think a business is built around buying up grandma's extra strips when she dies.
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  #7  
Old 01-28-2011, 09:41 PM
loshan loshan is offline
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I purchased test strips for a friend with no insurance coverage (plus very little money and no internet access) last year off of Ebay. They were within 3 months of the expiration date, but worked fine.
I have since found a discount source online that doesn't involve Ebay and has expiration dates a little further out, but they are about the same price.
For 200 strips I pay $62. The same number at the nearest Walmart pharmacy - $220 ($55 per box of 50).
If I don't purchase them, he would be injecting insulin "blind".
I have also been making the trip to the nearest Canadian Walmart (about 20 miles) to buy him insulin every few months. Canadian cost - $22 per vial. U.S. cost - $82.

Last edited by loshan; 01-28-2011 at 09:42 PM..
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  #8  
Old 01-28-2011, 09:48 PM
Peremensoe Peremensoe is offline
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Originally Posted by gazpacho View Post
I don't think a business is built around buying up grandma's extra strips when she dies.
Well, a hobby, anyway.
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  #9  
Old 01-28-2011, 10:57 PM
Student Driver Student Driver is offline
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There's definitely a black market for them, as they're expensive items, and not everyone who uses them qualifies for reimbursement, Medicare/Medicaid, or insurance. The pharmacies for which I work had a series of brazen thefts when we kept test strips out on a shelf for customers to buy; someone would walk by with a bag or basket, sweep the entire contents of the shelf into the container, and run out. When we went to a security system where people had to crank a dial on a locked cabinet (which made a loud clicking noise to attract attention) to dispense a single box at a time, there were even more brazen thefts-- people would come in as a group, lift the entire cabinet, and run out with it. A group was busted a few years ago selling stolen strips at a flea market.

We have the same issues with nicotine replacement products, because of the same high-cost issue.
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  #10  
Old 01-28-2011, 11:21 PM
gazpacho gazpacho is offline
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Originally Posted by spark240 View Post
Well, a hobby, anyway.
Anything beats watching America's Got Talent.
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  #11  
Old 01-28-2011, 11:24 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is online now
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So can i assume they are not buying used test strips, for some rare recyclable therein?
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  #12  
Old 01-29-2011, 01:41 AM
bardos bardos is offline
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Test strips are a billion dollar business and provide much gravy for the drug companies. The folks who need to test (insulin dependent) can't really live without them. For the companies, the more diabetics the better.

As was noted earlier, some folks, due to their insurance plans, have a surplus and need to augment their income so they sell them. It's a way for those without insurance to lower their medical costs and not have to pay outrageous costs for the test strips.

Last edited by bardos; 01-29-2011 at 01:42 AM..
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  #13  
Old 01-29-2011, 05:14 AM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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Originally Posted by Fear Itself View Post
So can i assume they are not buying used test strips, for some rare recyclable therein?
MRE's for vampires on overnight camping trips?
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  #14  
Old 01-29-2011, 06:41 AM
ThelmaLou ThelmaLou is offline
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Test strips are still good waaaay past the expiration date, like as long as a year or two. I had some that were a year past exp and tested them alongside some brand new ones and they were very close. (if you test two or three times in a row with brand new strips, whether on the same finger or different fingers, you'll get readings a few points different).

Last edited by ThelmaLou; 01-29-2011 at 06:43 AM..
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  #15  
Old 01-29-2011, 06:49 AM
Dolores Reborn Dolores Reborn is offline
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I buy test strips online at a significant savings. Some that I have bought are sample packs.
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  #16  
Old 01-29-2011, 07:42 AM
Athena Athena is online now
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Even non-insulin dependent diabetics use the strips, sometimes a lot of them, because they want to see what various foods do to their blood sugar. From what I hear on the Diabetes boards, insurance companies sometimes want to limit the number of strips people use in a day, and therefor they end up paying out of pocket for them.

And it's a racket. Retail price on the stupid things are around $1/each for most brands. When you're testing 10 times a day, that adds up fast.

And yeah, there's lots of discount places. I've bought from them, not because my insurance won't cover as many as I need (they do) but because I'm just disgusted at the whole industry. In a given month, I spend more on test strips than I do on insulin and other medications. You can't tell me that those strips cost more than a few pennies to make, if that.

Add in the fact that meters are crazily inaccurate (Federal regulations allow something like a 20% error) and the whole thing just drives me nuts.
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  #17  
Old 01-29-2011, 08:06 AM
Cub Mistress Cub Mistress is offline
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Those mail order diabetic supply companies automatically send the number of strips you will need IF you are testing as your doctor ordered (frequently 4 x day) Frankly, a lot of people only test once a day, if that, especially if they are Type 2 and on oral hypoglycemics. Sometimes quite a little surplus builds up, especially if your supplies are covered at 100% of the cost.
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  #18  
Old 01-29-2011, 09:37 AM
jayjay jayjay is offline
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There are a lot of test strips for a lot of different brands sold on eBay. That's probably what they're doing with them.
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  #19  
Old 01-29-2011, 09:53 AM
bardos bardos is offline
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Originally Posted by jayjay View Post
There are a lot of test strips for a lot of different brands sold on eBay. That's probably what they're doing with them.
That's where i buy mine.
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  #20  
Old 01-29-2011, 11:38 AM
AWB AWB is offline
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Type I diabetic here: I test between 4 - 8 times a day, so my monthly supply is about 200 (Thankfully only $5 with my insurance). They pharmacy won't dispense more than a month's worth, I figure, because they don't want me selling them off.

You've probably heard all the diabetic testing supply commercials, that offer to send you a new meter for free if you use their service. Big whoop! In the 4 years I've been diabetic, I've had 6 meters. (Unfortunately, I bought my first meter for $72 because my insurance wouldn't cover a day-of prescription for a meter. Had I known how to get a free meter...) I bought my original meter, got a second when I called and complained that my first meter's supply of strips was only about half of what was advertised. A third used a new kind of strip, and was given to me to "try out". My current doctor's office gave me two, and finally, my new insulin pump comes with a combination meter/control unit for the pump.

So yeah, the money's in the strips, not the meters. Kind of like when Bill Gates negotiated with IBM to keep the rights to MS-DOS. The IBMiots thought the money in PCs was going to be the computers themselves; BG realized that software was the cash cow.
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  #21  
Old 01-29-2011, 11:54 AM
jayjay jayjay is offline
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Originally Posted by AWB View Post
You've probably heard all the diabetic testing supply commercials, that offer to send you a new meter for free if you use their service. Big whoop! In the 4 years I've been diabetic, I've had 6 meters. (Unfortunately, I bought my first meter for $72 because my insurance wouldn't cover a day-of prescription for a meter. Had I known how to get a free meter...) I bought my original meter, got a second when I called and complained that my first meter's supply of strips was only about half of what was advertised. A third used a new kind of strip, and was given to me to "try out". My current doctor's office gave me two, and finally, my new insulin pump comes with a combination meter/control unit for the pump.
Oh, yeah...they give away the meters because they make their money from the strips. I keep hoping someone will invent a meter that doesn't need strips...like a permanent probe that you just clean off or something.
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  #22  
Old 01-29-2011, 11:56 AM
jayjay jayjay is offline
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Oh, and the way my insurance covers test strips is really messed up. They're not covered by my regular medical, they're not covered by my prescription insurance, and they're not directly covered by my medical supply insurance. I have to jump through so many hoops to get the supply place affiliated with the supply place that's primary-affiliated with my medical supply insurance to send them to me, or else pay for them out-of-pocket. I STILL haven't figured out exactly which hoops, so I'm paying for them myself right now. Ridiculous...
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  #23  
Old 01-29-2011, 12:33 PM
dhkendall dhkendall is offline
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Originally Posted by jayjay View Post
Oh, yeah...they give away the meters because they make their money from the strips. I keep hoping someone will invent a meter that doesn't need strips...like a permanent probe that you just clean off or something.
Why? It's proven in this thread that that's where the money is! Has any company anywhere in the history of anything done something because it saves their clients money while at the same time is quite detrimental to their bottom line?
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Old 01-29-2011, 02:24 PM
pohjonen pohjonen is offline
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Originally Posted by jayjay View Post
Oh, yeah...they give away the meters because they make their money from the strips. I keep hoping someone will invent a meter that doesn't need strips...like a permanent probe that you just clean off or something.
Kinda like printer ink for your inkjet, eh?

Walmart has the Relion Ultima that has 50 strips for $20. The others are ridiculous.

Last edited by pohjonen; 01-29-2011 at 02:25 PM..
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  #25  
Old 01-29-2011, 03:29 PM
TimeWinder TimeWinder is offline
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Originally Posted by dhkendall View Post
Why? It's proven in this thread that that's where the money is! Has any company anywhere in the history of anything done something because it saves their clients money while at the same time is quite detrimental to their bottom line?
I get information on every electric bill about how to use less (and actively encouraging me to do so), and occasional similar info on other utilities.
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  #26  
Old 01-31-2011, 05:16 PM
Tastes of Chocolate Tastes of Chocolate is offline
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Originally Posted by dhkendall View Post
Why? It's proven in this thread that that's where the money is! Has any company anywhere in the history of anything done something because it saves their clients money while at the same time is quite detrimental to their bottom line?
Some new company will come along, see that the market for readers+strips is saturated and making a ton of money, and start offering generic strips, or a reader that doesn't need strips. Kind of like what has happened with printers and either generic ink cartridges or refilling old cartridges.
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  #27  
Old 01-31-2011, 05:22 PM
Ludovic Ludovic is offline
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Originally Posted by TimeWinder View Post
I get information on every electric bill about how to use less (and actively encouraging me to do so), and occasional similar info on other utilities.
But that doesn't cost the electric company anything, as a matter of fact it helps them. If people are saving too much electricity, they will apply for a rate increase from the utility board claiming that they are losing too much money from frugal consumers. Then, their profits skyrocket because they make the same amount of money selling less electricity.

I'm not even joking.
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  #28  
Old 01-31-2011, 05:31 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is online now
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Originally Posted by Ludovic View Post
But that doesn't cost the electric company anything, as a matter of fact it helps them. If people are saving too much electricity, they will apply for a rate increase from the utility board claiming that they are losing too much money from frugal consumers. Then, their profits skyrocket because they make the same amount of money selling less electricity.

I'm not even joking.
I concur. I recall that happened a few years ago in California.
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Old 01-31-2011, 05:37 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is online now
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Ah, yes, here it is:
Quote:
Last week, [Sacramento Municipal Utility District] officials announced a plan to raise customer rates 13 percent over the next 18 months. The two-stage hike -- a 9.5 percent hike comes Sept. 1 -- would be the nonprofit power provider's second in two years.

Fully implemented, the average residential customer's monthly bill would increase $8, officials said.

A decline in power usage -- the result of customer conservation, retail bankruptcies and utility disconnections -- is just one of the justifications for the rate increase, but it's definitely part of the equation, SMUD spokeswoman Elisabeth Brinton said.
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  #30  
Old 01-31-2011, 05:46 PM
AWB AWB is offline
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Originally Posted by jayjay View Post
Oh, yeah...they give away the meters because they make their money from the strips. I keep hoping someone will invent a meter that doesn't need strips...like a permanent probe that you just clean off or something.
They do have continuous glucose monitoring devices, which attach for a week at a time and send results to a remote unit you wear on your belt. Unfortunately, it needs about a daily calibration by testing your blood with an independent meter and inputting its readings.

My insulin pump, a Ping, is planned to have a CGM addition, but FDA testing has delayed its introduction by about 2 years.
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  #31  
Old 01-31-2011, 09:13 PM
Athena Athena is online now
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Originally Posted by AWB View Post
They do have continuous glucose monitoring devices, which attach for a week at a time and send results to a remote unit you wear on your belt. Unfortunately, it needs about a daily calibration by testing your blood with an independent meter and inputting its readings.

My insulin pump, a Ping, is planned to have a CGM addition, but FDA testing has delayed its introduction by about 2 years.
I have a CGMS. It was useful and fun for a while, but overall I quit wearing it after about 4 months. Overall, the hassle outweighed the benefits.

First off, they're not accurate enough (yet) to obsolute a real meter. Seeing as the meters are only accurate to 20%, that's saying a lot. The one I had needed a calibration (from a meter) at least twice a day.

If it was just that, it still would have been useful. But the stupid thing was wildly, crazily inaccurate for the first 24-48 hours after I changed the sensor. Like it kept waking me up in the middle of the night telling me I was at 40 (which is really, incredibly dangerous) or 400 (also dangerous, though not quite as horrible as the 40). When the reality is that I was at a nice, safe 90, that wasn't all that fun.

It'd get more accurate for a few days. You're only supposed to wear the sensors for a week, so that was 2 days out of each week that were a pain. I'd push it to 2 weeks, but still, 2 days out of 14 days was enough that I never quite trusted the thing.

Then add in that it was yet another thing stuck to my body, and another electronic gizmo that I had to carry around all the time, and overall, it just wasn't worth it.

I still have it, and might use it again if I start having issues, but the technology has a long way to go.
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  #32  
Old 02-02-2011, 06:13 AM
chaoticbear chaoticbear is offline
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Originally Posted by loshan View Post
I purchased test strips for a friend with no insurance coverage (plus very little money and no internet access) last year off of Ebay. They were within 3 months of the expiration date, but worked fine.
I have since found a discount source online that doesn't involve Ebay and has expiration dates a little further out, but they are about the same price.
For 200 strips I pay $62. The same number at the nearest Walmart pharmacy - $220 ($55 per box of 50).
If I don't purchase them, he would be injecting insulin "blind".
I have also been making the trip to the nearest Canadian Walmart (about 20 miles) to buy him insulin every few months. Canadian cost - $22 per vial. U.S. cost - $82.
If you don't mind me asking, what kind of insulin? Most of the ones I can think of are either cheaper than that or more expensive than that.
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  #33  
Old 02-02-2011, 08:31 AM
GiantRat GiantRat is offline
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Maybe they meant "We buy diabetic test strippers."
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