Signs offering cash for unused diabetic strips

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - What has been a nationwide - some say dangerous - trend has now made its way to the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry. People offering cash for certain medical supplies.

In our case, diabetic test strips. You may have seen the handmade signs around town.

At least one person in Savannah claims to have been doing this for years. A quick internet search of the phone number written on a homemade sign at Skidaway and Victory Drive leads to a Facebook page, with the creator offering to pay cash for your unused, unexpired diabetic test strips. He adds they've been doing it since 2009.

Also attached to the Facebook page is a YouTube video posted by the man offering to buy test strips for cash.

"We accept many different brands, including One Touch Ultra Blue, FreeStyle Lite, Accu-Chek Aviva Plus."

The list goes on. To find out how people with diabetes might even have a surplus to sell, we checked in with registered dietician and certified diabetic educator at Memorial Health.

"The only reason there would be a surplus is if they're not checking as prescribed," said Certified Diabetic Educator and Registered Dietician Sandra Brassard.

Brassard says diabetics seeing a money making opportunity, might only check their blood-sugar levels a fraction of the time they're supposed to and sell the unused strips for cash.

The problem with buying secondhand is you don't truly know what kind of condition those unused test strips might be in.  If a test strip gives an incorrect reading, the effects on a diabetic can be devastating.

"You could end up with hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia depending on the situation, or just be really sick," said Brassard.

A 2015 article on an American Diabetes Association website says diabetics are footing more of the costs of diabetes management themselves, and that cost burden gets worse for the under or uninsured.

"Being a diabetic is costly. You have to get your glucometer, the testing supplies, the lancets to get the blood sample and then the medications. All the medication that are available, whether they're older or newer, there's a cost," Brassard said.

Brassard says as the costs pile up, it may become more tempting for diabetics to find the cheaper option, which isn't always the safest.

I called the numbers from the sign in Savannah, and another on a sign a viewer sent us from Beaufort. I'm still waiting to hear back.

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