Diabetes is one of the most costly diseases. The American Diabetes Association estimated the total costs of diagnosed diabetes to be $327 billion in 2017; 15% of which accounted for anti-diabetic agents and diabetic supplies. Diabetic test strips, for one, can cost up to $2 apiece, and for the uninsured and underinsured, this is a substantial financial burden.
Patients with type 1 diabetes, for example, may be required to test their blood sugar 7 times a day, on average. That’s $420 worth of $2 diabetic test strips every month for test strips alone! The high costs of managing diabetes gave birth to an underground market for diabetic supplies.
Why is Diabetic Test Strips Expensive?
First, it would help to know how modern strips work. Diabetic test strips measure the electrical energy in glucose in the blood. Every strip has several layers. The first layer is essentially a sponge that soaks up your blood. The second layer serves as a filter that will channel your blood to the reaction layer. The third layer has three components: an enzyme that reacts with the glucose in your blood, a chemical that transfers electrons through the circuit for an accurate reading, and a solution of chemicals that preserve the enzyme and mediator chemicals. The bottom layer has the circuit, usually coated in palladium and gold, which transfers the reaction electrons to your glucose meter.
Why Do People Buy or Sell Unused Diabetic Test Strips?
Those who are insured might have these medical supplies covered by their insurance company, or co-pay at most. The uninsured and under-insured pay sky-high prices out of pocket for test strips, which is why it’s no wonder that the underground economy of buying-and-selling unused test strips thrives.
It is not illegal to buy and sell unused diabetic test strips as these strips can be bought from pharmacies and retailers. You can sell them even if you were prescribed the test strips. However, if your strips were purchased by Medicare or Medicaid, you cannot sell them as these were paid for by the federal government. You are not allowed to profit off the government’s programs and services. You also cannot sell test strips that have been acquired illegally.
Selling your unused test strips can be beneficial to both you and the ones who will buy them from the middlemen. You will be able to recoup from all the costs of managing diabetes, while those who cannot afford the high prices of test strips in pharmacies can get a hold of these crucial supplies at discounted prices. Take the time to research different sites that buy and sell unused diabetic supplies and read their guidelines. Make sure they are a legitimate company that handles and stores these supplies properly and pays sellers accordingly.