You can find many auctions for blood glucose strips on ebay, but which auctions should you bid on? I'll try to list some things that I feel are important and not that important when choosing glucose test strips. You really have to scrutinize ebay auctions for glucose test strips so you don't get taken when making your bid. I don't claim to know everything, but I hope you will agree at least with some of my observations.
1. Check the Expiration Date of the strips.
The first thing you should look for in glucose test strips is the expiration date. You probably don't want to buy strips that will expire this month or next either. Many of us test once or more a day so make sure the strips expire at least a few months into the future. An expiration date of a six months to a year into the future is probably what you want to go with.
2. DON'T BUY EXPIRED STRIPS!
Test strips don't work reliably past their expiration date. If no one will guarantee results on expired strips, why would you want to risk it? Isn't your health so important that you want to do it right? Steer clear of expired strips! Just say no! Don't do it! If Pharamicies won't sell them, what makes it ok to sell them on ebay? Beats me! Shame on you if you're selling expired strips on ebay (how do you sleep with yourself)! My mother called me one day and said her machine gave her a result of 87 but when she tested with my dad's machine said she was over 350! Yikes! She wanted me to help her figure out which result was correct. When I questioned her about it, I found out she was using expired test strips with her machine! I then tested her with my machine and I got a result of 390! Who knows how long she has been thinking everything was fine and dandy. She's now having to have foot surgery. Let this be a lesson to you! Please don't use expired strips! Please don't sell expired strips either! Don't encourage others that it's really OK to buy expired test strips! You could be killing someone! Personally, I feel selling expired strips should be banned on ebay! I think the only ones saying it's OK to buy expired test strips are those who have some vested interest in unloading them on ebay! Shame on you! Have a heart! You could be killing someone! Thinking that expired strips are OK is just wishful thinking. If you're going to err, err on the side of caution. Don't use or sell expired strips and don't mislead others that's it may be OK and give them a false sense of security. Be smart and just say no! I probably can't state this more emphatically!
3. Watch for a good deal test strips!
The going rate for test strips at the pharamacies are about $1 a test. On ebay the going rate appears to be somewhere around 40 to 60 cents per test. You'll want to calculate the entire cost of the auction! Some unscrupulous auctioneers will charge an extremely high shipping charge and if you're not paying attention, you will be paying too much for your glucose test strips. So for example, an auction for 100 glucose tests is $45 and the shipping is $5. That's a total of $50 for 100 tests. That comes out to 50 cents a test. That's a good deal. Another example would be $20 for 50 tests plus a high $40 for shipping. So that is a total of $60 for 50 tests. That comes out to $1.20 a test! Yikes! Pharms only charge about $1 per test so why would you do it? So always take into consideration the shipping charge. If you're paying close to what you can get at the pharamacy or more, then think twice.
4. Make sure the Box is Factory Sealed!
It's important because some unscrupulous people will change out the strips! How do they do this? They open the box, remove the strips, and replace them with expired strips and keep the good strips for themselves. To the untrained eye, the strips look OK as though they are new strips with a current expiration date but they're really not! So, don't buy opened boxes, or just a vials that are not in a sealed box. Also, many tubes of strips once opened have a reduced shelf life. For example, the expiration date may say a couple of years into the future, but once a tube is opened the expiration date is reduced to like less then 3 months. Worse yet, what if someone opened a tube of strips and contaminated them and then you touch them to your very own blood! You could get a nasty blood borne illness! If the auction doesn't say factory sealed, for goodness sakes, ask them!!! What may seem like a good deal, may turn out to be a disaster!
5. Glucose strips are sensitive to the environment!
It is best if the test strips are kept in a cool dry environment. If they are ever subjected to heat swings, it will affect the results of the tests. Whenever you purcase test strips from individuals, you are taking a risk that they didn't keep them in an environmentally friendly place. If you see in the auction where the auctioneer states that they have been in a good environment, that may be a plus. You may want to ask the auctioneer to send them a quick way like Priority 2 day mail or faster service. If during shipment the strips sit in a hot truck or warehouse for 2 weeks then the strips will probably be ruined when they arrive. Just to be sure you have good strips, you might want to run a control test on the first strip to make sure it is in range before trusting the results of the rest of the strips. A good auctioneer will put this information on their auction. If you don't see this information, ask the auctioneer if the strips have been in a good environment and if they intend to ship using a quick method. Quick shipment is a major plus!
6. Make sure the test strips really do fit your glucose monitor.
A good auctioneer will list the machines that the test strips work with. Ask the auctioneer if you're not sure if the strips are compatible with your machine. Don't assume one brand of test strips work with all of their brand's monitors. Some boxes have different colors which means something. There again, some companies have boxes of different colors and they don't mean anything and work with the same meter. Don't think that you know the strips go for your machine by the color of the box. Don't go by color of the box at all, instead get the information from the auctioneer.
7. If you are using an old Glucose Monitor, then Upgrade!
If you are using a glucose monitor and test strips that require 4ul (micro liter) of blood or more, then you need to upgrade to something better. Many of today's current glucose meters have test strips that use only 1ul or less of a blood sample to conduct a glucose test and are much easier to use than older machines. You may be going through unnecessary pain and trouble by using an old machine. You might could upgrade your glucose meter and make life a lot better for your glucose testing. Egads! if you're still using a machine where you have to drip a whole drop of blood onto a test strip! Yikes! The new machines with 1ul of a sample is like the size of a pin head and it sucks it in! You don't have to plunge the lancet so far in to get that much blood out so it makes sampling virtually painless. Also, many of the new monitors let you sample from your forearm where there are less nerves so you might not feel a lancet at all! Please, if you're still on an old machine, then upgrade! Your test strips won't be much more expensive if at all (usually they are the same price). Also, newer machines are inherently faster. Instead of waiting 15 seconds for a result, you could get a result as fast a 5 seconds with some of the newer machines. Also, you might could get a new monitor very inexpensive on ebay or sometimes even free after rebate! Some companies even have an upgrade program to make for a free or relatively cheap upgrade. It's silly to fool with old glucose monitors! Upgrade!You can find out more about glucose monitors I recommend, glucose monitor reviews and other diabetic information on my other guides.
8. Bonuses are usually not that important.
Some auctioneers will add lancets or alcohol pads to the auctions. While it is nice to get such bonuses, they are worth very little so don't let the bonuses change your decision on price very much. For example, on ebay you may see that lancets and alcohol pads both run for about $1 per 100. Many of us use lancets, clean them with an alcohol pad and use them more than once even many times (I'm not recommending that but some do it). So you probably have lancets running out of your ears. So don't let a box of bonus lancets or alcohol pads sway your decision that much on the price of test strips. But hey we all need those things so there again, don't let me talk you out of such things either. Figure it out for yourself.
9. Take your time and be patient.
I will watch many auctions and wait for one that stays at or below the price I want. Sometimes people will outbid you and the auction will go way higher than the strips are worth. Let the auction go by and don't let yourself get into a bidding frenzy and pay more than you should. Set an amount of time that you will watch for a good deal, like 3 days. If you can't find a good deal in that amount of time, then raise your price you're willing to pay and try another 3 days. Just don't bid on the first auction that comes along. There's plenty of fish in the sea!
10. So what do I recommend?
Here's some current test strip types (10/2006). Don't see your model listed? Hmmm. Figured it out for yourself. Investigate it! Your meter might just be fine for you so don't take offense.
* = These seem to be the most popular right now!
f = I experienced poor customer service
!=My personal favorite!
a=Alternate site testing
o=BD is getting out of the Blood Glucose Monitoring Business
- FreeStyle (Freestyle, Flash & Freedom) (0.3uL) *, a, !
- Logic (0.3uL) a,o
- ReliOn Ultima (0.6uL) a
- Aviva (0.6uL) *, a, f (Sips up the blood very fast!)
- Precision Xtra (0.6uL) a
- Ascensia Microfill (0.6uL) a
- Ultra (& Ultra2, UltraMini, UltraSmart, & Induo) (1uL) *
- Active (1uL) f
- True Track Smart (1uL)
- SideKick (1uL)
- Track Ease (1uL)
If you are using one these type test strips below you should probably upgrade to another meter:
- Go (1.5uL)
- Compact (Compact & Compact Plus) (1.5uL) f
- FastTake (1.5uL)
- Elite (2uL)
- Dex2 (2.5uL)
- Brio (3uL)
- Precision QID (3.5uL)
- Breeze (4uL)
- Complete (4uL)
- Advantage (4uL)
- SureStep (10uL)
- Profile (10uL)
- Basic (10uL)
11. Did I mention, DON'T USE OR SELL EXPIRED STRIPS! You could be killing someone!