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Why Are Diabetic Test Strips So Costly?


Most Americans who suffer from diabetes check their sugar levels on a daily basis. For doing so, they require diabetes test strips that work along with their glucose meter for providing them with accurate glucose readings.

Diabetes test strips can set you back a fortune. That’s true, especially when you also include the fact that a diabetic has to utilize them on a daily basis. Some people may use them multiple times a day, which can increase their medical bills to extreme levels.


Test strips are highly crucial for diabetics. Unless you have enough insurance or healthcare, they can cost you a bombshell.

But why are test strips so costly?

While test strips differ from each other based on the meter that you utilize for monitoring your sugar levels, all strips are the same more or less.

A strip measures your blood sample’s glucose levels by measuring its electrical energy. Glucose is converted into an electrical current, which is then processed and displayed by the glucose meter.


Manufacturers do it by using enzymes that are capable of performing such conversions. However, they need to maintain a delicate balance. The enzyme must be kept active, but not excessively either.

Diabetic strips are capable of withstanding most weather fluctuations. Thus, they will not degrade these enzymes. That’s extremely important because were it not for this feature, users wouldn’t have been capable of storing the strips in their houses because of rampant temperature fluctuations.

Your meter will display a reading that will tell you the glucose content in the blood sample. Additionally, it will also alert you if you are nearing dangerous levels.


Although modern technology might seem incredible at times, these strips require only about $0.15 to be manufactured, at most. As a result, it is estimated that manufacturers of test strips have a profit margin of over 70% – 80% on these strips.

However, other people who are aware of the industry’s processes state that the manufacturing costs don’t necessarily reveal the whole picture. When people also factor in additional research expenses and costs of machinery, etc., the prices are quite rational, say many industry experts.

How Expensive Are Diabetes Test Strips?

A diabetes test strip can easily cost more than $2 a strip, something that large companies say is due to the amount of research they have to do for enhancing their product. Although scientists are making consistent progress in this department, measuring blood glucose levels using meters has been popular for decades now.

Ever since diabetic testing strips exploded in popularity, people with Type I diabetes have started monitoring their glucose levels regularly at home. But the high expenses related to purchasing needles, strips, and machines often deter Type II patients from testing their glucose levels. The high costs have also halted the government from making a decision regarding this matter.

As each strip can cost anywhere between $1 – $2 per strip, the government isn’t ready to accept such a huge financial burden, especially when you consider the staggeringly high number of people who suffer from the disease.

However, the burden is often too great for diabetes patients to handle on their own. While some patients get their strips paid for by Medicare or Medicaid, that’s not applicable for all patients.

Many people have no choice but to pay for the strips using their own funds, irrespective of the costs.

Does Pricier Mean Better?

Almost every test strip available today has the same degree of accuracy these days. While that wasn’t true in the past where expensive testing kits could produce more accurate results, almost every test strip available these days is accurate to the same degree.

However, diabetics must note that there could be a 20% difference between actual sugar levels and the reading displayed by the monitor. However, that’s true of almost all test strips.

How to Purchase Test Strips at Cheaper Rates?

You can make use of prescription assistance programs, online vendors, bulk purchase discounts, coupons, free samples, etc., to purchase test strips at cheaper rates. Such programs are incredibly helpful for people who don’t have a lot of disposable income. Some people also face a situation where they are left with excess, unused test strips that are nearing their expiry date. Instead of throwing them away, you can sell test strips to online vendors like Test Strips 4 Money that purchase your excess stock in exchange for money. They sell it to people who require the strips at discounted rates urgently and thus, ensure that the strips are not wasted.

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  1. Rachel Frampton Rachel Frampton April 7, 2020

    My dad was diagnosed with diabetes three months ago, that’s why I’m currently looking for diabetes test strips to monitor his sugar level. I’m glad you shared this; it’s no wonder why it is expensive, it’s because these strips can withstand most weather fluctuations. At least now I know that it doesn’t mean it’s pricier, it’s better because according to you, almost all the strips available today have the same degree of accuracy.

  2. Elijah Lee Elijah Lee January 3, 2021

    Why is it that nobody just understands this: They are so expensive because the companies that make them know that people need them. They are exactly as evil and as greedy as they seem to be. Not a bit less might I add. Making a fortune off of the detriment and misfortune of others……that is a little twisted, wouldn’t one agree? These companies are sister companies or partner companies of other major corporations owners. Otherwise they wouldn’t be able to afford to even start producing such a product in the first place. They have tons of money to start with. If nothing else, these companies could make the meters to be a one time expensive purchase, and sell the strips at cost, or just to be fair, double what they cost to manufacture. It would create a scenario where people who arent as well off as others could still afford to eat after they check their blood sugar. Either way, they are still making money hand over fist. Too sad it is, yet it is true! The Love of money, is the root of all evil! Not money itself, but the Love of money! Where is the the love of your fellow man. If you were unfortunate enough to have diabetes, you would not agree with these outrageous numbers nor want to be gouged for them.

    • Joe Mc Joe Mc February 5, 2021

      The article states that it may cost 15 cents to make a strip. Having run a manufacturing business, I would estimate the real cost, including writing off all creation expenses, is more like a tenth of that. The markup on these strips is outrageous and unethical. Now Medicare will pay only for 1 test strip per day, so many diabetes patients with poorly controlled sugar will lack insight into their medication control needs.

  3. Jane Smith Jane Smith May 25, 2021

    Diabetic strips are outright expensive, and this is a fact. While there are companies that sell them at higher prices, companies buy unused diabetic strips, and those will be sold at a lesser price. That at least is a silver lining.

  4. Joe P Joe P September 8, 2021

    A box of 100 Contour Next strips costs about $125, over-the-counter, at CVS. I can get a box of 100 of Contour Next strips on Amazon for $36 plus shipping. Why such a disparity in price for the same thing ? Is CVS proudly telling it’s diabetic customers “Hi, we enjoy ripping you off” ?

  5. Jane Smith Jane Smith April 22, 2022

    Informative content. Diabetic strips are something is required many times.

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