US Pharmacist. 2002;27(11) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Blood glucose meters are complicated but easy-to-use devices. They utilize the latest technology to allow diabetic patients to test their own blood glucose levels.[1] It is incumbent on manufacturers to keep up with technological advances and incorporate them into the meters as quickly as possible.

A box of 50 blood glucose strips retails for $30-$40, depending on location. A box of 100 strips costs the patient $60-$75. The typical type 1 diabetic tests 3-4 times daily, for an annual strip cost of perhaps $1,100-$1,150. The typical type 2 diabetic tests once daily, at a cost of perhaps $270-$300 a year for strips. Approximately 1.2 million U.S. citizens have type 1 diabetes, and an additional 10 to 13 million have type 2 diabetes. The total annual expenditure for strips alone could thus exceed $5 billion. This simple analysis does not include the cost of the meters themselves. Some companies opt to virtually give away their meters (e.g., through generous rebates/ coupons), which locks the consumer into purchasing the only strip that fits the product. The primary method by which manufacturers can obtain/maintain market share is to make a better meter/test system, which benefits the consumer. In fact, in the following discussion of blood glucose meters, some of the data may have changed by the time this article appears in print. The reader is cautioned to double-check the current set of meters to discover any updates that the manufacturers might have instituted very recently. Much of the information presented here was gleaned from various meter websites, as well as diabetic advocate sites (e.g., http://www.childrenwithdiabetes.com).

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