August 15, 2007

LifeScan "Giveaway" - What Cynical Weasels!

A PR person working for LifeScan alerted me to the fact that her wonderful client is giving away 10,000 free meters.

Her press release explains that having thoroughly researched the needs of the meter-using population, LifeScan had decided that what we've all been needing is a choice of color for our meters.

Well, wake up. What we need is more affordable test strips.

And the other thing we need is for someone, like, say me, to point out what a cynical piece of self-serving crap this giveaway is, since every recipient of a "free" LifeScan meter will have to spend $100 on LifeScan's strips to be able to use it. LifeScan no longer includes even the ten pathetic free strips they used to include with their new meters.

Strips cost a lot more now than they did when I was diagnosed 9 years ago. This in an age where every other technological item decreases in cost with every passing month. I paid $1,900 for a computer in 1998. I paid $66 for 100 strips. Far more powerful computers are available now for $400, but strips are up to $100.

Last I looked, there wasn't anything special going on inside of the strips or the meter, no platinum, diamonds or gold. The cost goes up because we folks who use them are a captive audience and all the major companies who make strips that insurance will reimburse seem to have agreed to charge the same price, giving us no real choice.

But now you can get ripped off in the color of your choice!

Copyright Janet Ruhl 2007. If you are NOT reading this on the content has been STOLEN.


Megan said...

The meters they give away include 10 strips, it's just the ones you actually pay for that don't. I'll take free stuff where I can get it. I don't think Lifescan is keeping it a secret that they're in it for the money. Otherwise they'd be non-profit.

Allison said...

I agree that test strips are expensive (unless you have really good insurance), but I still think having a meter that you like is cool. I like having the different colors. It's nothing spectacular but hey, if it adds a little fun and personality to a product that otherwise sucks, I'm all for it. My favorite color is purple and I hope they make a purple meter for the sheer fact that I want a purple meter. It's not exactly rocket science that people want something they feel they have a choice in - especially when it comes to diabetes which was NOT a choice.

But this is just my opinion. I'm sure there are plenty of people who could give a rat's ass.

Jenny said...

Yes, you can definitly have my rat's ass. I don't need it.

I'd like a more ACCURATE meter that was cheap enough to use that I could test my blood sugar enough to really understand what was going on.

If you HAVE insurance, pause for a moment and think of all the people who don't, including a lot of young Type 1s and older Type 2s who have been fired thanks to health problems.

With 100 strips costing $100 you can imagine how much they test.

And did you know that Medicare will only pay for 100 strips even if a person is on insulin? I just learned that from a friend who is.

Allison said...

Jenny, I've been a diabetic for over 13 years, I know how the game is played.

I am NOT arguing with you that meters should be more accurate and test strips should be cheaper. But how does that negate putting out meters that are in different colors? I mean, I know it's important that Lifescan focuses on improving their products, but I suppose I'm a little confused as to your opposition to the contest. People are going to have to pay for test strips whether they use the Lifescan meter or not, so why not give them the opportunity to not only try a new meter but give them one in a color they want, instead of the standard blue?

I'm not arguing against your points. My point was that there are people who will still like this contest because it gives them the opportunity to get a free meter - and a iPod Nano- especially if they are already Lifescan customers and have purchased the test strips, like myself.

Jenny said...

Because the contest is bogus.

LifeScan will give anyone whose insurer gives them preferred provider status a free meter. There's a number your insurer can give you to get it.

Roche (maker of Accu-Chek) does the same thing.

And then there are those coupons that most of the pharmacies offer that will let you get a free meter too.

It irks me that the press release tries to make it sound like they are doing something good for us, giving us something, when all they are doing is trying to increase the number of people who are buying their strips.

And great, some lucky person gets an iPod. Whoopdie do. With 10,000 new meters out there eating up 1 million dollars worth of strips a month (at 100 strips a month) I bet they can afford an iPod or two.

I wish people with diabetes could be organized enough to demand that the meter companies put more effort into making the strips affordable. As long as we can be bought off with this kind of sop, well, why should they?

Allison said...

So, are you doing anything to advocate for a price decrease in test strips?

Jenny said...

Well yes. I'm responding here to the email the company's rep sent me where they supposed I'd want to promote their product for them, since they were so wonderful to give away all those free meters!

And I'm raising the issue among other people with diabetes, suggesting that as long as we don't confront companies when they pull stuff like this, nothing will change.

No one says you have to agree!

manny hernandez said...

I love knowing someone like you: I think it's important to have people who, like you, are able to see beyond the PR and the marketing.

I must admit though, I am guilty as charged, because I subscribed for the giveaway: I was lulled more by the iPod part than anything else! :)

Jenny said...


Hope you win the iPod!

It struck me they should have given away a year's worth of test strips. That would have gotten me interested!

Gal Friday said...

I am one of the fortunate diabetics who has insurance. But let me tell you they still try to work you over. My recent prescription was for 120 test strips. the prescription read patient test 4 times daily, refill 6x. So the pharmacist had to explain to me that my insurance does not feel that is a 30 day supply 100 strips is a 30 day supply. I explained, that I have been having swings in my blood glucose levels, and my endocrinologist just changed me from 1 type of insulin to types, from 3 shots daily to five shots daily. I explained I have chart I have to follow, and my dose is based on my BS levels. Hence 4 times a day is probably going to be the least I will be testing for the next few weeks until I get my regiment under control. She filled it once, and used one of my refills costing me to copays and basically shorting me 20 test strips. You know the Insurance company will be getting a call. I still don't understand why they don't want to support preventing multiple problems diabetes can cause. I would much rather test regularly then have loose my kidney or eye sight. But hey what about those people that can't afford the basics of diabetes treatment. I feel blessed, but mistreated.
Pardon the rant, but it seemed an appropriate response.

Allison said...

As a fellow person with diabetes I fully understand the need for affordable and accurate test strips. I work for a company that produces extremely accurate blood glucose meters and very afforable test strips. If you have a few minutes, take a look at the data on our website which shows the WaveSense KeyNote compared to a laboratory reference. The strips are actually priced better than the 90's at $52.99 for a box of 100.

Let me know if you have any questions,


Community Outreach

AgaMatrix, Inc.

Unknown said...

I've had a Google account for the last 10 years. It says Unknown Google account.

Jenny said...

Blogger seems to be broken. I can only post comments myself by going into Explorer. None of the other browsers work. Not sure why.