Buying test strips can be expensive. No wonder diabetes patients rejoiced at the idea of less expensive “third-party” or generic blood glucose monitoring strips that are made by a different company than the one that makes the meters they are used in. With new products on the market, consumers may wonder if these strips are accurate. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in a newly released statement, specific generic test strips may be giving false readings.

In the statement the FDA says, “The FDA is advising people with diabetes and health care professionals to stop using GenStrip Blood Glucose Test Strips because the strips may report incorrect blood glucose levels. The FDA recommends the use of alternative glucose test strips that are designed for use with the LifeScan OneTouch family of glucose meters.” GenStrip Blood Glucose Test Strips, made by a third-party company, are made to be used with the LifeScan OneTouch family of glucose meters and have been on the market since March 2013.

During an inspection, the FDA found multiple violations of federal regulations put in place to assure quality of the manufactured products. Because of this, the FDA believes the strips could report incorrect blood glucose levels. To date, the company has not voluntarily recalled their test strips and they are still available for purchase.

Testing For Accuracy

Whether you're testing several times a day or just once a day, having accurate numbers is vital to diabetes management. Here are some tips to ensure you’re getting accurate test results:

  • Make sure test site is clean. If there is any residue on your fingertips, like food, it can cause inaccurate readings.

  • Keep your meter and test strips out of extreme temperatures and store them according to the manufacturer's instructions.

  • Use the meters control solution whenever you open a new package of test strips or if you suspect the meter or strips are not working properly.

  • Compare your meter results with a blood glucose test performed at a lab or at your doctor's office.

  • Use only the recommended test strips with your current meter. Different strips contain chemicals that only react with a certain meter and will not give accurate results if used with another.

  • Check expiration dates on your strips. The chemical coating on the strips breaks down over time and can cause the strips to report wrong results.

Speak with your doctor or pharmacist to determine which test strips are recommended for your meter, and practice safe and accurate testing procedures. If you suspect a problem with your blood glucose test strips the FDA encourages you to file a report through MedWatch.

To learn more about blood glucose testing:

How Accurate Are Your Glucose Test Strips?
You Can Help Shape the Accuracy Standards for Glucose Meters
All-in-One Glucose Monitoring System May Help You Simplify