Saving $ on Diabetic supplies

By dubyadd Latest Reply 2011-05-19 10:07:59 -0500
Started 2011-05-14 10:31:02 -0500

I have no insurance so glucose testing supplies are a big expensive problem. I have a pharmacy where common oral diabetic meds with prescriptions are FREE. But the testing supplies just kill my budget. Most meter strips cost between $.75 and $1.00 each. If you test 3-4/day it is very costly. Found a new meter (Advocate) that was less then $20. AND the strips were about $.13 each. Have been testing for a week now against my current meter (Accu chek Aviva strip cost .50-.75 each) and the test results are very close. I recommend this item.

44 replies

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2011-05-16 17:16:08 -0500 Report

Call me paranoid. My lancet gets changed everytime. I don't know where the MRSA I was blessed with last year came from. Wasn't declared a Diabetic until after I had picked it up. Am afraid the little buggers could be floating around anywhere waiting to get another whack at me. Maybe I'm just a conspriacy theorist.

CaliKo 2011-05-17 18:18:59 -0500 Report

Not to give you something else to be paranoid about, but my MS therapy injections come packed with alcohol wipes. I never use the wipes and I was certainly glad because they got recalled because of possible microbacteria on them. You wouldn't think an alcohol pad could have bacteria on it! Here's the recall notice:

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2011-05-18 08:25:49 -0500 Report

When I was in the hospital getting wound care for the cellulites/MRSA combo I had one nurse who thought she should use those for cleaning on my legs. Just the thought of adding another player into the mix makes my paranoia meter go off the scale. Note: Those pads are not supposed to be used for cleansing wounds. She unfortunately never read the label much to my agony.

nanaellen 2011-05-17 12:51:31 -0500 Report

I must be paranoid also cause i use a clean lancet every time! Thanks for putting a smile on my face today! Ellen :)

GabbyPA 2011-05-17 12:53:19 -0500 Report

Really, we are supposed to use a new one every time. It reduces our chances of infection. However, most of us don't. It is good that you do and if that is what works for you, keep doing it.

dubyadd 2011-05-17 17:49:01 -0500 Report

We are supposed to use the lancets only 1 time BUT I have been reusing them for months at a time for 10 years with out problems. Sometimes in certain studies I was testing 8-10 times per day, and my fingers got sore ( alternate testing sites just did not seem to work for me) but no scabbing, bruising, infection even though i never changed the lancet.. i don't even use the alcohol swap anymore as it dried out my skin too much.
Also I use the side of the finger and not the pad as it is much less sensitive.
But i have seen others who test a lot with fingers that look like hamburger. My sister was one of those that used alcohol wipes and a new lancet every time and her fingers were just a mess. Seems to me it is a very individual experience.

GabbyPA 2011-05-19 06:44:13 -0500 Report

Yes that is quite true. I test on the side of my finger and I change my lancet about once a week. I don't use alcohol pads either, just warm water and soap. Dry off with a paper towel instead of a towel like I used to. Works for me. My fingers don't ever hurt unless I am having a "no blood for you" day. LOL

kimod1013 2011-05-16 10:34:43 -0500 Report

Thanks so much for the information! This will really help save some money! Also in regards to using your lancet more than once - I totally do! I test 3 times a day and probably change my lancet once a week. Thanks again!

RAYT721 2011-05-16 17:32:13 -0500 Report

Yeah I'm with you on reusing the lancets. I make sure they are sharp (less pain) but I don't change with each use. I was gonna change my name to Sir Lance A Lot. But you can call me "Ray"

Sandy Van Der Kar
Sandy Van Der Kar 2011-05-15 12:32:48 -0500 Report

I have gotten a couple of free meters and strips online they are always sending me deals for free meters and strips. Have you tried going online to see if you can get one there? If I could I would send you one that I am not useing along with the strips,well maybe I can would you like one?

dubyadd 2011-05-16 03:48:19 -0500 Report

Yes ,I have seen these and get these offers all the time too, and they are all over TV. "get your diabetic supplies shipped free to your door". But when i try to qualify they reject me. I have no insurance and not on medicare, so I have to pay out of pocket ;-(

Sandy Van Der Kar
Sandy Van Der Kar 2011-05-16 04:11:21 -0500 Report

what I am talking about is not the same these are for the meters mainly it is not any kind of program. I think if you go to they offer them there at least in my area which is New York State. I do not have to qualify for anything just be a diabetic I will look into it more and let you all know

dubyadd 2011-05-16 08:11:36 -0500 Report

Well I looked over at webmd which I am also a member and receive weekly emails from them, but I don't see any free meters. But a free meter is only a 1 time event,the strips are what cost. I already have over a dozen meters dating back 10 years and I check the price of strips for the newer ones. most are over $1.00 each unless you have medical insurance or medicare, that's over $1000.00 /year if you test 3x/day plus bad tests plus control tests. So my info above was really about test strips. I just wish there was some standardization. When you buy a toaster or blender or coffee maker do you worry about if the plug will fit in the wall? But buy a strip for a freedom lite meter and it won't work in a accu-chek Aviva meter will it. Many companies will probably almost give away their meters to get you to buy the test strips. That's where the money is for BIG Pharma. Just like computer printers. Very cheap to buy, but the ink is product and model specific. Until a generic comes out. Did you know that the most profitable division in Hewlett Packard is their printer ink division?
So if you see any more of these free strips offers please let us all know ok.
How about someone inventing a generic test strip that fits a dozen different meters…now there's an idea to work on on.

GabbyPA 2011-05-15 06:57:47 -0500 Report

This is good news. That is less than even the Reli-on meter set that I have. Those I get for .36 cents each. Where did you find your meter and strips? And would you be so kind as to post your information in our product review? I am sure a lot of people would be very glad to hear this.

dubyadd 2011-05-16 04:09:46 -0500 Report

I got my strips and meter and control solution at
But I made an error. They sell a box of strips for $13.99, but it is a box of 50 which makes it .28 cents per strip. They do discount for quantity. They have a 5 box deal of 250 strips for .21 cents each. And they have a meter with strips package which I bought and got the meter and 200 strips for $55. They also sell the lancets and control solution for very low prices. They have all kinds of package deals and sell lots of other kinds of meters too. They ship free with orders over $100. I try to say up a bit to cut the shipping cost. This brand of meter and strips is also avail on Amazon and other sites too but the link I gave you was the best deal I could find. If anyone can locate a better deal ( other the free stuff for those with insurance or medicare) I hope they share

GabbyPA 2011-05-17 12:40:28 -0500 Report

Ok, I have that site in my fav's and get their newsletter. I guess I missed that deal. I will have to look again.

RAYT721 2011-05-16 17:30:25 -0500 Report

I found a promo code on for my last order which gave me a $5.00 discount so my shipping was technically just $1.99. I got the same meter and 200 strip deal as you speak of. I am quite pleased with I would also be interested in anyone finds a better / cheaper company to share with us.

diabetesfree 2011-05-16 14:20:25 -0500 Report

I've bought my lancets and test strips from American Diabetes Wholesale for several months now, and they do have some great deals. You might not get a blood glucose meter for free, but most of the "generic" brands cost well under $20 and do just as good a job as the "name brand" meters. The replacement strips I get are around 20-something cents when bought in bulk. They work just fine.

Another good source I have found for supplies is I get my insulin syringes from them. A box costs $25 at Costco, but only around $12 on I used to use BD brand syringes. Now, I use the Easy Touch brand. They work just as good as the BD ones. Absolutely no complaints. Plus, fast delivery, no waiting in line, and no sales tax. Amazon is also a good source for lancets, as is eBay.

dubyadd 2011-05-17 17:10:41 -0500 Report

I just read an article at Web MD about meters. They said any meter for sale in the US has to be approved by the FDA. And Consumers Reports did a study on meters and found all they tested as reliable. Some were a little more accurate than others but all were within federal guides. They said not to pass up the less expensive meters as they are just as good as the high priced ones. They mention that the Relion unit at $9.00 found at Walmart was the second most accurate of the ones tested.
I checked the Relion and it was one of the lowest priced meters but the the test strips cost more than the Advocate meter, which is the one decided to buy. The strips are the recurring item that costs the most. And I like to reduce costs as much as possible so I can buy another gallon of gas for my car ( but that's another story!)

diabetesfree 2011-05-17 17:31:14 -0500 Report

Yep, the price of the strips is definitely "the catch" with most brands of meters. The meter manufacturers borrowed an idea originally thought-up by razor manufacturers years and years ago. Give away the razor for free, but charge a lot for replacement blades. This is also popular in the computer printer industry, where inkjet printers are fairly cheap, but refill cartridges are crazy expensive. Like test strip companies, the printer companies use electronic countermeasures to keep you from refilling cartridges with your own ink, or using test strips made by third parties.

Keep in mind, although the law says that all meters sold in the U.S. must be approved by the FDA, that doesn't mean that all meters you find for sale here really are. The FDA can't actually keep track of every medical product sold in the united states. Many imported products just claim to be FDA approved. It's much the same with electronics products, which are all supposed to be approved by Underwriters Laboratories and have the UL symbol printed on them. If you take a trip to your local dollar store though, I would guess that most of the products you find there either won't have the UL symbol or are using it without any type of approval.

dubyadd 2011-05-17 18:09:21 -0500 Report

Well I do have to agree with you there. But when dealing with a large seller like Walmart, eBay, Amazon, I think can be fairly safe with their products and have recourse back to them if a problem occurs. I also use "PayPal" to purchase with as they have a buyer assurance program like eBay and are very good to work with if a problem arises. However once one enters a discount , dollar type store, one should put on the doubtful hat on and double check everything. Although I save money here, i spend twice the time looking over and checking expiration dates before buying anything.

diabetesfree 2011-05-18 01:05:35 -0500 Report

Checking dates is a good idea. I agree that WalMart is probably a safer bet than most dollar stores or eBay. Keep in mind, if you are purchasing on eBay using PayPal, there is little PayPal or eBay can do if the vendor is actually located in another country. They could freeze their (known) PayPal account, but they can always pop-up a day later with a different name. Fortunately, test strips are not -usually- a life or death type of buying decision.

There have been a number of products lately coming from China, Pakistan, etc. that have had very high contents of lead and other toxic substances that have led to animals here dying (contaminated cat food from China) or that could cause humans long-term physical harm (high levels of lead found in children's candy from both Pakistan and Mexico). So, keep your eyes open for product recalls and such. They seem to be more and more common every day.

Two painful feet
Two painful feet 2011-05-14 12:37:27 -0500 Report

I use Accu check Aviva have for 3 yr now. I like the tester and tge strips very much.

dubyadd 2011-05-14 20:14:39 -0500 Report

I like the AVIVA too. And they promote a $15.00 per prescription cost for test strips. BUT that's $15.00 CO-PAY if you have insurance. If you don't have insurance they will give you a $40.00 discount, which sounds good but still the cost are too high! I checked this with 2 different pharmacies and MY cost for 100 strips for was $65-73 The $73 was at Walmart even). This was after the $40 discount. The best I found on line was $48/100 for the AVIVA.(this was better than the in store cost but the $40 discount could not be used.) I like the $13/100 for Advocate strips…by the way they are very similar to the AVIVA strips. And the meter has audio, it tells you when to add the blood to the strip and the result you get .COOL! It also displays this info .
So if you DON'T have insurance AND Don't want to waste your $$$, I would choose another less costly product…even if you like the current one. That's what I did anyway!

nanaellen 2011-05-15 12:39:13 -0500 Report

Can I ask where you found the advocate meter and strips?? I'm supposed to test 8 times a day and I have the Tru-Track Meter. My strips are $50.00!! If I could get your meter I would be in heaven!!! LOL Thanks, Ellen

G.rose 2011-05-14 22:20:00 -0500 Report

Thanks for your info on costs. Iwas very lucky when I came home from the hospital, my insurance company sent me a free meter and free test strips (10). The eye opener was going to the pharmay to check on prices. I almost fainted at prices. They sent me the one touch ultra and delica lancets. The lancets are wonderful, they don't hurt at all. Can you use a lancet more than one time or is this not a wise thing to do?

cavie2 2011-05-17 10:33:07 -0500 Report

When the lancet breaks through the skin it gets blunt so every time you use that same lancet it gets more blunt resulting in pain. That's why it's recommended to use them only once to cut down on the pain level. lol

nzingha 2011-05-15 14:00:39 -0500 Report

yes u can use it several times…u r the only person using it..just wipe the area u r using it on…i've done it over and over and no problem.

G.rose 2011-05-15 23:02:19 -0500 Report

Thanks again for all your help. I might not be available for a few days going for surgery tomarrowand not looking forward to this procedure,but will stay positive and brave go in and get out.

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2011-05-15 23:08:07 -0500 Report

Best wishes for your surgery. My secret to getting out fast is find the elevator and escape while no one is looking.

dubyadd 2011-05-15 05:35:31 -0500 Report

The Docs and big pharma will tell you to change your lancet every time. And If your insurance is paying for it won't cost you but the co-pay. But if you have to buy out of pocket, it is another story. I reuse my lancets for up to 6 months at a time. I was in a number of diabetic studies, sometimes testing 8 times per day and they supplied enough lancets to use 1 time per test, but I just used 1 lancet for the whole study, so I have thousands of them left over. I also have over a dozen of the spring loaded lancers.
But the one I like the best is the "Accu-chek Multiclix". It has a 6 lance dispensing cylinder which is replaceable. I have had the same cylinder in the lancet pen now for 2 years. Think I'll change it out tonight. By the way I find that the tips don't really dull at all, but sometimes using it can really be painful, then the next time I don't feel it at all. I think it depends on how close to a nerve ending the point comes.

G.rose 2011-05-16 09:35:19 -0500 Report

The reason I was asking is now I don't have insurance due to being in the hospital for 5 months my insurance ran out and I still can't return to work for another month or two. I know the test strips are the most expensive so I don't test as often as I should. Sometimes you gota do what you have to. Does anyone know where you can get assistance with test strips?

Kysiall 2011-05-16 11:50:48 -0500 Report

I too have had no insurance and I have not found ANY assistance programs for test strips. I have found strips on E-bay very cheap. Even now with insurance my strips cost $45-50. I have Medicare and they will only pay for 3 tests a day. My Dr. wants me to start meal time insulin, but don't know how to pay for more strips. Test strips are the most expensive part of my Diabetes care. We need to get together and start lobbying for assistance or price controls on them

dubyadd 2011-05-16 09:45:43 -0500 Report

No insurance and not eligible for medicare? Sounds like me! That's why I bought the Advocate meter and strips. I got my strips and meter and control solution at . It was $55 for the meter and 200 test strips. I added more to go over $100 so I could get free shipping. It was the best deal I could find. If you can do better please let us all know.

jayabee52 2011-05-15 02:21:05 -0500 Report

Many People with diabetes reuse lancets. Some reuse them until the points get dull and start hurting. I feel that if I only use that lancet for me, I can get multiple uses from it. I always change lancets should I use my meter to test someone else, and change the lancet immediately after the finger stick.