A dangerous scheme has popped up in Syracuse and other parts of the country. People are advertising to pay cash for unused diabetes test strips. It is not uncommon these days to see people standing on street corners with handwritten signs promising to pay cash for diabetes test strips, according to Syracuse News on Tuesday.
There is also a Facebook page dedicated to paying cash for unused diabetes test strips so diabetics can check their blood sugar level during the day. The advertisement suggests you will be helping those without insurance by selling your unused, unexpired diabetes test strips. This way you will be recycling the test strips instead of throwing them away.
It is true that hundreds of millions of boxes of diabetes test strips are manufactured each year, and not all of them are used. There are many reasons why diabetes test strips just sit on shelves, collecting dust until they expire, and then thrown out. Some diabetics get better and don’t need to use test strips as often. Therefore, test strips pile up, especially when they get their strips shipped to them in the mail from their insurance company, and they receive way too many boxes each month. Sometimes a family member with diabetes dies and leave behind boxes of test strips.
Millions of people in the United States are living with diabetes, and they do not have medical insurance and cannot afford to buy diabetes test strips at the retail price. Some of the test strips cost about $2 each. They put their health at risk by not testing their glucose level regularly. Those who buy unused test strips do so to recycle them to get them to people who really need them. Also, it helps keep them out of landfills.
Kristi Shaver, an education team leader at SUNY’s Joslin Diabetes Center in Syracuse, says the risks are too high in buying diabetes test strips on the black market. A false reading could prompt a person with diabetes to inject too much insulin or eat too much sugar to try to maintain a healthy blood sugar balance.
It has not been determined if the selling or buying unused test strips is illegal. Nobody can cite a specific law forbidding resale of diabetes test strips. Shaver recommended that if diabetics have difficulty paying for test strips, they should seek alternatives, such as reduced co-pay programs, special promotions or websites that obtain the products from credible sources and resell them at reduced prices. She also recommended that those with diabetes could ask their pharmacist about alternatives. She insists there are less expensive and safer testing options than purchasing diabetes test strips on the black market