Donating Unused Test Strips: A Guide

Diabetes used to be a death sentence until the early 1920s when insulin was discovered. In 2015, diabetes was seventh in the leading cause of deaths in the United States. The cost of diabetes runs in the billions, from diagnosing the disease to medical costs and reduction in productivity by diabetic patients. In particular, the total direct and indirect cost of diagnosed diabetes in 2012 was $245 billion. And the average medical expenditures per year for diabetic patients is around $13,700. Worldwide, the number of people with diabetes reached 422 million in 2014, from 108 million in 1980.

Many patients in developed countries have unused test strips that they just throw away. These are things that cost a pretty penny, especially to people from low-income countries. In third world countries, diabetes could still mean death to a lot of people suffering from the disease.

One of the main reasons why diabetes supplies are difficult for other people around the world to access is the cost. Test strips, as small as these things appear, are actually quite expensive. One strip can cost up to $1.50. And given the fact that most diabetic patients will need to check their blood sugar levels daily, that’s an additional $45 a month. To diabetes sufferers in low-income countries, or to people from calamity struck areas, this is a heavy financial burden to bear. A good way of helping them is to donate any unused diabetic supplies.

The first thing you need to do is to check if your test strips have not expired. Expired test strips will give inaccurate readouts of your blood glucose levels. This could lead to a whole host of diabetes-related problems. Make sure that your strips will not expire for at least another 3 months.

Also, make sure that your test strips are clean along with the package or bottle that they come in. If you find any discolored test strips in your batch, these may not be safe to donate anymore.

Next, ask your doctor if they know any local nonprofits that donate diabetic supplies to third world countries or to places where a calamity has hit.

Once you find an organization that handles donations like these, you can either drop off your test strips at their local office or ship it to them. Ship them in a container that is sturdy enough for diabetic test strips. Print out the labels and addresses legibly.

You can donate other diabetic supplies as well. If you are donating insulin, make sure it is refrigerated, unopened, and unexpired. If you are donating glucose meters, make sure that they are functional and that their batteries still have life to them.

Diabetes might not be as dangerous to people in developed countries as it used to be. But many people worldwide still suffer the lethal consequences of the disease. Spreading goodwill through donating unused test strips and other diabetic supplies ensures that the death toll caused by diabetes will get lower in time.