You won’t believe how much money can be made from reselling diabetic strips
While re-selling unused diabetic test strips is legal, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is concerned.
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - “Cash for Diabetic Test Strips” signs have been popping up across metro Atlanta.
“I’ve done over 500 signs within the past six months,” Ray Donovan, the man behind the signs, said, “in the suburbs and within the perimeter.”
Donovan said there’s a booming underground economy for diabetic test strips. “This is my full-time job,” he added.
While each disposable piece of plastic may look insignificant, diabetic test strips provide an essential role in helping the 37 million Americans with diabetes monitor their blood sugar daily. Turns out, they’re also a money-making venture.
Donovan said people with diabetes “have an extra amount of test strips, pumps, diabetic testing supplies. I meet up with them; I evaluate them; I check the expiration; I check the quality; and then I buy it off of them.”
Usually, the buyers are uninsured and unable to pay retail prices, while the sellers are insured with a surplus of product. At least that’s the case for Laura Miller, a diabetic who has sold hundreds of dollars’ worth of diabetic supplies to Donovan.
“What happened was, I switched insurance, and all of a sudden, in a month and a half, I had like four different meters and all the test strips, lancets, and everything coming at me every other day in the mail,” Miller said.
Miller emphasized she’s not rationing insulin and she’s not selling supplies for the money. In fact, she only took $100 from Donovan, even though her supplies were worth triple that amount.
“I told him nothing over that [$100] no matter what,” Miller said. “I did it because I had an abundant amount, and I didn’t want them to go to waste.”
While re-selling unused diabetic test strips is completely legal, the practice has raised concerns from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which said using pre-owned test strips “may potentially cause infection or lead to inaccurate test results, which can cause serious harm, including death.”
Dr. Cecil Bennett also warns against the practice.
“The concern is my patient’s health,” Dr. Bennett, of Newnan Family Medicine Associates, said. “If the strips are inaccurate, we cannot manage that patient properly and we may be undertreating them or overtreating them which can lead to further complications.”
Among those complications are hyperglycemia, which happens when blood sugar levels are too high and hypoglycemia, which sets in when blood sugar levels are too low. “Both can be medical emergencies,” Dr. Bennett added.
Donovan said he takes precautions to ensure the products he’s buying are legitimate. That includes only buying diabetic supplies that are sealed and within the expiration date.
Still, Dr. Bennett said buying pre-owned supplies is a gamble that’s not worth the pay-out for diabetics. “I have no confidence in someone outside of the medical profession making a judgment as to whether or not these strips are good or not good,” he said.
Donovan isn’t the the only game in town. Tons of companies are online that buy diabetic test strips with names like QuickCash4TestStrips.com and TestStripSearch.com. A quick Facebook search will also turn up dozens of interested buyers, all of which drives the unusual yet legal marketplace for diabetic testing supplies.
ANF+ BEHIND THE INVESTIGATION: The reselling of diabetic strips has led to a booming underground economy
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