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$$$ for glucose strips - KOAM TV 7

$$$ for glucose strips

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Joplin, MO - You may have seen online posts with buyers, who are not in the health industry, asking for non-used, unexpired glucose test strips.

"I have heard of having signs even like around town, that are like homemade signs, wanting to buy test strips," says Greg Cobble, a pharmacist with Freeman Health System.

We came across an ad posted on a Facebook page, called the listed number, and then spoke with a man named Tim.  He says he lives in Joplin, and resells the test strips to those who otherwise can't afford them.

We ask Tim if we can get details over the phone of what he's doing.  

"Not going to happen, brother," says Tim.

We offered to sell Tim some strips that retail for 35 dollars.  Tim offered to buy our strips for five dollars.  He says he typically resells at a 50 to 60 percent discount nationwide.  It's hard to say if buyers like Tim are on the "up and up," or part of a scam.  But buying the test strips off the black market is dangerous.

"When these strips are exposed to extreme heat or extreme humidity, they can give false positive high blood glucose readings," says Cobble.  "My real concern is if you get that false positive blood glucose reading, and you give yourself an insulin shot, then you could enter hyperglycemic shock, and that can lead to hyperglycemic shock coma, and death."

Co-pays for test strips can be high, and some insurance plans don't cover the strips.  Many local pharmacists say for those reasons alone, they expect people like Tim to reach out and grow their business further.

Pharmacists say the new Affordable Care Act still can mean a high co-pay for glucose strips.

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