Price of diabetes test strips rise as many patients go without

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- More than 29 million Americans live with diabetes.  For some it can be a struggle to afford the many medications and devices necessary to keep the disease under control.

"Diabetic medications, testing supplies, the price of them of increased dramatically; it's sad," said Lauren Maune.  "A lot of patients can't afford it, and it's very important that they're able to get it for their overall health."

As a pharmacist at Oak Grove Pharmacy in North Little Rock, Maune sees the impact that rising medical supplies is having on diabetic patients.

"If it's too much, you know, they just go without."

That has led to a lucrative 'grey market' where diabetic testing supplies are bought and resold.

Maune said this market exists out of necessity, but cautions patients to stay away.

"I would recommend definitely getting it from your pharmacy or your pharmacist.  Just making sure it's the real deal," said Maune.

Many people need to test every day, some several times a day, and the cost adds up quickly.

"They typically come in a box of 50 or 100.  A box of 50 is around $60.  A box of 100 is around $120, so it's very pricey."

Maune said when it comes to the cost of these supplies, insurance companies need to fill the gap.

"They've got to start covering more, making it easier for the patients to be able to afford.  Some insurance companies don't cover certain brands or prefer a certain brand, which may be too expensive for the patient."


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