Not Enough Glucose Strips Being Prescribed or Underinsured?

By Nadia Al-Samarrie

Years ago, when I had my Sugar Happy Diabetes store in San Francisco, It was cheaper for me to buy blood sugar test strips from a company in Ohio than the company that produced them in my backyard. They purchased them from France and resold to me at $16.00 a box for 50 test strips. Their price includes a wholesale markup.


Locally I paid $28.00 for a box of 50s. This upset me. How can glucose blood sugar strips sell in France, wholesale in the U.S to two distributors, be 43% cheaper than the manufacturer a few hours away from me? 

Later that year, I read an article in the Wall Street Journal that discussed this exact topic- reporting how manufacturers caught on to international distributors by evaluating a country’s diabetes population. Then, they started sending enough blood glucose test strips to meet that country’s demand, leaving them with no surplus to ship back to the U.S.

We have come a long way since then. When test strips were expensive, people with diabetes had to limit how many they could purchase. Even though they preferred testing more, dispelling that notion that people with diabetes  just did not test enough. Fortunately, today there is an abundance of low-cost glucose test strips for people with diabetes. Just google any pharmacy near you.

Ascensia Diabetes Care- the makers of CONTOUR® NEXT BGM and test strips conducted a study to understand the glucose test strips market and what people with Type 2 diabetes believed about the cost of testing their blood sugar.


I interviewed Jonathan Frank – Marketing Manager at Ascensia, to discuss the results of their study. You can listen to the 16-minute podcast to hear what their research determined.

Do you have enough test strips for your blood sugar tests? If not, why? Your feedback will stay anonymous if we share it with the diabetes community. 

As always- I wish you the best in health.


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