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Black market emerges for diabetic test strips

Joy Wang
February 23, 2017 06:23 PM

It's no secret health care can be expensive, especially for people with a chronic condition. The problem has become so bad, there's even a black market for diabetic test strips.

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A quick search on Craigslist reveals a few people selling diabetic supplies including test strips.

“It's kind of an industry in itself,” said Barbara Webber with Health Action New Mexico. “Doesn't surprise me in this day and age.”

Buying the test strips from a company would cost $50 for 100 test strips. On Craigslist, some prices are as low as $25.

“If you don't have insurance, you can buy it at a pharmacy,” Webber said. “But you can usually buy it cheaper online if you can find a non-expired strip. But people are selling those, but a lot of times they're selling them because their plan changed so they have them left over and they take advantage to sell them.”

As a diabetic patient, she knows how tough it was to get test strips when her insurance didn't cover it.

“What I did during that time was to purchase them online on eBay,” Webber said. “I would look through people that had no expired computer strips to sell, so I would buy $50 instead of $80.”

She said now plans require covering drugs. As long as the person selling them didn't get them from Medicare, Medicaid or any other government funded program, she said technically it is legal.

'“It's actually a service to the people who are looking for the strips because they're expensive,” Webber said, “especially if you're uninsured and don't have access to coverage.”

Credits

Joy Wang

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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