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Are generic test strips the right choice?

There is no doubt about it: Glucose test strips are expensive. In tough economic times, paying up to one dollar for each strip can seem steep and really impact the checkbook. In turn, many individuals are looking to generic test strips to cut costs.

What are generic test strips?

Generic test strips are designed with savings in mind. There are genetic test strips that are compatible with name-brand meters. When choosing generic test strips, be sure to check the packaging for a list of meters that work with the strips. Remember that even if a generic strip looks exactly like the brand-name strips you use in your meter, it might not work, or provide inaccurate results.

If you're not sure about using generic strips in your brand-name meter, you can look for a meter that takes several different types of strips. For instance, the One Touch brand offers several different meters that all use the same type of test strip. ReliOn®, a generic meter branded by Walmart, offers several different meters that use the same test strips as well.

Five points to ponder about generic test strips

Generic test strips are often much cheaper than the name-brand ones. Ready to test them out? Keep these five points in mind.

  1. Check the expiration date. Look at the expiration date before you buy, as some generic strips have a shorter shelf-life than their name-brand counterparts.
  2. Test for accuracy. Test them for accuracy by using generic strips alongside your name-brand strips for a few days. Are the results similar? A few points of difference between meters or test strips is normal, but a wildly different reading is not.
  3. Look at your insurance co-pays. Though the generic test strips might seem less expensive, your copay and discounts might make the name-brand strips cheaper.
  4. Consider buying in bulk. You might be able to get your name-brand strips for cheaper than generic by buying in bulk. Look at the unit price for the box, not the overall price, to determine which way is cheaper.
  5. Keep track of your test strips. Are you having several generic strips that don't read the blood sample? Keep track of the strips that you waste, and when you're done with the box, determine how much those generic strips really cost. A name-brand strip that works every time could be cheaper than generic strips that only work half the time.

To ensure that you are getting the generic strips you intend to buy, purchase them from the store shelves, directly from the manufacturer, or from a reputable site such as American Diabetes Wholesale or Amazon. Test out several generic types to find the one that works well for you.

About Shannon Lee

Shannon Dauphin began writing about diabetes long before she was diagnosed in 1998. A professional writer with nearly two decades of experience, Shannon has covered topics from medical and health to relationships and is the author of several published novels.

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