Like "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. "