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Cost of Diabetic Consumables

Discussion in 'Diabetes Discussions' started by tronied, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. tronied

    tronied · Newbie

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    Recently, I increased the number of tests I was doing from 3 to 5-6 a day to keep a better control of my levels. When I phone up the doctors surgery to order more sticks, they are always a bit hesitant to give me more than 2-3 boxes. I decided to check out how much the sticks cost on amazon to see if I could buy some myself to keep from me having to hassle the doctors for them, and... wow, nothing could prepare me for how much they cost. I use a OneTouch Ultra 2 testing kit with its associated strips, and a single box (which gives 50 tests) was £20! I go through that in a little over a week.

    I decided to ask my doctor how much my insulin costs, and he said a single box of 5 insulin cartridges for my pen costs £40. Now, I know that research into these items costs a fair amount, but surely they have made back that amount and then some purely from initial sales of these items. It makes me feel bad for the NHS for how much they have to spent on keeping us alive (1/8th of the NHS budget apparently), and makes me wonder about the morality of these Pharmaceutical companies. It almost makes me want to write a letter to these companies asking them to justify the price, but I probably wouldn't get an answer anyway. Maybe the insulin can be justified, but the sticks certainly can't with each one probably costing a penny or two.

    Thing is, there has been a long standing theory that most of these companies even if they found a cure wouldn't release it as they are making too much money off us, and with those prices I tend to agree. It really makes me feel annoyed that they put such a high price on keeping human beings alive...

    What are your thoughts on this?
     
  2. Bluenosesol

    Bluenosesol Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi Tronied,
    time and again on this forum, you will read accounts of people who can not get strips on prescription. We talk about it a lot unfortunately. Maybe we should identify the most appropriate minister and begin a concerted campaign to get strips free on prescription for ALL diagnosed diabetics.

    Steve.
     
  3. cugila

    cugila · Master

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    We have had many discussions on here about the cost of strips etc. Do a search here.
    Business as they say is business. It makes not a jot of difference to the Companies what we say, it needs a campaign by someone like DUK although I doubt even that has enough 'clout.'

    As for costs of the strips, try Ebay....they usually have loads of strips available at much cheaper prices than you would pay on Amazon. I sometimes top up my strips as I use around 70 a week at the moment. I get plenty but do feel guilty so I don't mind topping up out of my own pocket.

    So Ebay is my first port of call. Last time I got 200 for around £20. Just make sure it is a reputable seller, check the use by dates and always use PayPal. Simple !
     
  4. Bluenosesol

    Bluenosesol Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Ken,
    I check ebay every day and for most of the time, I am lucky to see a box of 50 for much less than £15. However now and again I can get a bargain, I purchased 400 last year for £75, but that is a rare event.

    Anyways to kick my campaign off, I have filed an email complaint with the Health Department's formal email route dhmail@dh.gsi.gov.uk , If I get no joy, I will follow up with a complaint to Andy Burnham, Minister of state for health.

    Stee.
     
  5. noblehead

    noblehead Type 1 · Guru
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    Hi tronied,

    Lets just start with the basics, I see that you are type 1, therefore phone your surgery and insist that they increase your test strips to 4 boxes, don't take no for a answer and should they refuse, make a appointment to see your gp and discuss this with them. I use to get just 2 boxes at a time, went to see gp and told him I needed more, and he asked me would 4 be sufficient, I said yes and get 4 every time now.

    As the others have said, this issue of test strips has been discussed time and time again, we all feel the same that test strips should be made available to all people with diabetes, regardless of type or treatment to control the condition. I didn't know that 5 insulin cartridges cost £40, that is quite staggering :shock: however, I wouldn't be to concerned about this, you need insulin to treat your condition and for the time being there is no other way. As long as you don't waste cartridges or stockpile them needlessly, it is not worth worrying about.

    Some years ago, I said to my gp that I was concerned that my meds must be costing the NHS a fortune over the course of a year, and I must be seen as a drain on NHS resources, he assured me that this was not the case, and it was far cheaper to provide a patient with the best suitable medicines available, that to deal with the aftermath of a uncontrolled condition. I think that he may have had a point there! :(

    Now go pick up that phone and get them told! :evil:

    Nigel :D
     
  6. cugila

    cugila · Master

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    Hi Steve.
    I use an UltraSmart and I have NEVER paid anything like that price. I usually just keep looking at odd times and have always managed to pick up a bargain or two. I must have just been lucky with my timing ?? :D
    Ken
     
  7. kegstore

    kegstore · Well-Known Member

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    tronied

    You never see a drug company "on their uppers"? My monthly cost to the NHS for pump and testing consumables comes in at around £500, I've tried looking for ways to reduce this, but I need what I need so it's fairly static unfortunately.

    Specifically on the test strips issue, as a T1 there should be ABSOLUTELY NO restrictions on your monthly allocation, they are your lifeline and as important as insulin. You should NOT have to pay for a supplementary supply, unless of course you're clearly ordering thousands and selling them on eBay! Seriously though, I would kick up such a fuss if I was ever asked to reduce my usage.

    My team were clearly taught at the same med school as Nigel's GP - whenever I mention cost they always say don't think about it in those terms. So I don't!
     
  8. tronied

    tronied · Newbie

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    Thanks for the replies all :)

    I'll do as you say and put in a request to get 4 boxes instead and see what happens.

    I guess it as you say though, business is business.
     
  9. iHs

    iHs · Well-Known Member

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    Hi

    I would say that you should be ok to ask yr gp to prescribe you more teststrips. For the past 2 years I was only getting 150 strips per month whereas before that I was getting 200 with no problem.

    I recently questioned my gp about the cost of pork animal insulin and she looked it up on the computer and I saw the £25. £39 for the likes of todays analogue insulins is extremely high so I suggested to gp that I change to animal and with the saving to the NHS, I could get more strips. Straight away gp apologised and said she had made a mistake and that as a type 1, I should be able to test as often as I think I need to. So I now can have what I used to get - 200 strips per month.
     
  10. hanadr

    hanadr · Expert

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    I'm T2 and don't use any hypo causing drugs. I can't get strips freely. I'm allowed 2 packs per year. So I buy from the suppliers. I have the Freestyle Lite and Abbott supply the strips fpr £14.?? postage paid.
    I have bought from ebay and was shocked to find the packs with a pharmacy label torn off, which means they'd been dispensed to someone. That's when I decided to stick with Abbott. Their customer service is excellent.
    As for telling someone in the government, Iwas at a committee meeting in the House of Commons last October. I spoke there and the Minister said it was shocking and shouldn't happen, but my PCT won't budge. I've had piles of documents from them showing me why it's too expensive, but the diabetic community looked after by them has a fewer than 50% hitting the 7.5% HbA1c target. Apparently it's improving by about 4% per year. They won't accept that if patients had strips and the knowledge to respond to their readings, the PCT would save on treating complications.
    And I'm only asking for one or two strips per day. I don't have a need for more.
    Hana
     
  11. Bluenosesol

    Bluenosesol Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Hana,
    PCT's wont budge whilst they are allowed not to do so. I am in a dispute with my former employer and its all because lawyers spend 99% of their time identifying loopholes to protect their clients regardless of the associated moralities (democratic justice). Hower you would be amased at the waves that a relatively small number of employees have made in parliament, indeed a fraction of the number of members of this forum. We even got channel 4 news to run our story.We are confident that UK laws transposed from EU laws will change as a result of our campaign.
    Maybe that is what it will take to get our strips (human rights?) for free.

    Steve.
     
  12. Romola

    Romola · Well-Known Member

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    T1s MUST be allowed sufficient strips - I can't see there is any argument against that.

    We T2s probably don't need to test very often after we have worked out what we can eat on a regular basis. I know there is a lot of heat generated on this subject, but it isn't life threateneing if we don't test that often.
     
  13. hanadr

    hanadr · Expert

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    Romola
    I don't test all that much. Once or twice a day. to keep TIGHT control. I am supposed to test once a week and that's definitely NOT enough for the kind of control I want. It only takes a couple of mistakes to get Bg creeping up. AND I do not want to be eating the same things every week, like school lunch.
    Hana
     
  14. Bluenosesol

    Bluenosesol Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Romola,
    I have achieved a non diabetic HBA1C and I DO argue that frequent testing is imperative. I am a T2 on diet only.
    When I was earning a good salary, paying £60 a month to ebay would not have been a personal issue.
    Now I am job seeking and barred from any government benefits, unless I am successful in my job seeking endeavours I will have to concede that I will have to forego my diabetic management and control as I can not continue to find my own funds. Hence I could well lose control of my condition and look forward to the complications associated with that scenario.
    My main objective in joining this forum was to enjoy the fruits of the knowledge and support of my fellow diabetics -
    Funny old world eh?? :? :? :?
     
  15. noblehead

    noblehead Type 1 · Guru
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    I agree in some respect to what you have written, type 1's using insulin are more likely to hypo etc. That said mind, I think it is equally important that type 2's test daily also, after all good diabetes control can halt or delay long-term diabetes complications, which is better for the patient and the nhs budget in the longer term.

    At the end of the day it is a individuals choice when to test, even providing free test strips to all wouldn't necessarily mean that people would test more often, it depends on what the person wants to achieve. I met a type 1 diabetic recently who hadn't tested his blood sugars for 3 months, yes that's right 3 months!!! Incredible I know, but very true. :?

    Nigel
     
  16. Foggitthedoggit

    Foggitthedoggit · Member

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    Hear, hear Romola.

    For T2 diabetics, common sense should tell most with a modicum of working grey matter what foods and other consumables must necessarily be avoided. Forums like this point people in the direction of how diet might be further adjusted. Some testing in the early days will allow thoughts to be refined. Thereafter...... Well unless my HbA1c and other bloods start to deteriorate I won't be pricking my fingers or anything else for a while.

    I should add that my GP allows me as many strips as I might care to request. However, I consider that I would probably be helping to deprive some poor sod elsewhere in the system with a more immediate need for perhaps life saving medication.

    I also think that those who elect not to take medication should have a good think about it. Taking a minimum of medication in the early days after diagnosis might well help a dysfunctional pancreas to keep going longer and save in the longer term. I started on 2*500 Metformin - 3 years on I now take a single 500.

    Strips for some seem to be a handy comfort blanket.
     
  17. Bluenosesol

    Bluenosesol Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    So we know what foods to avoid?. I recently purchased rhubarb. The packet stated 0.8g carb per 100g. It actually spiked my blood. I wouldnt have known that if I hadnt tested. This doesnt only apply to rhubarb, I could quote lots of instances of foods which on paper appear to be safe yet proved to be damaging.
    Handy Comfort Blanket???? What on earth is that supposed to mean???

    So taking freely prescribed metformin when you dont need it isnt?????

    Is this forum being infiltrated by usurpers or has someone lost the plot???
     
  18. noblehead

    noblehead Type 1 · Guru
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    Nothing wrong in having a handy comfort blanket if it helps you to achieve good diabetes control.

    Nigel
     
  19. Foggitthedoggit

    Foggitthedoggit · Member

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    Have a comfort blanket if you must - but don't expect other to pay for it.

    Yes I take Metformin - Consultant prescribed it and so far has not said that I should desist from the prescribed daily dose. Happens to be she who considers that taking this minimum dose will help y dysfunctional pancreas to continue a bit longer that it otherwise might.

    Rhubarb, frozen, cooked, with sugar 31.20g cup 74.88g
    Rhubarb, frozen, uncooked 5.10g cup, diced 6.99g
    Rhubarb, raw 4.54g cup, diced 5.54g
    Rhubarb, raw 4.54g stalk 2.32g
     
  20. noblehead

    noblehead Type 1 · Guru
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    Slightly confussed here as to what exactly you are implying!

    Don't think any one of us asked for diabetes to come into our lives, these things happen and when they do we must expect that our welfare system that we all contribute too covers the cost. I don't begrudge anyone recieving the best possible care under this system, no matter what the condition, and unfortunately medications and treatments can be a costly way of prolonging and saving lives, it is not for us to be judgemental on how people choose to treat/monitor their condition.

    I wouldn't in a million years deny someone the chance of taking better control of their condition for the sake of a few pounds, it is far better to treat and prevent in my view. Test strips are far from being a comfort blanket, they are there to serve a purpose, to help people manage and control their diabetes; should you choose not to use them, that's fine, but don't belittle those that do!

    Nigel
     
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