“Dang. I dropped the lancing device again honey.” “Yeah, it broke.”

Lancing devices are a pre-requisite when dealing with diabetes. I’ve seen people test by holding a lancet between their fingers and poking themselves by hand, but I wouldn’t recommend it. That being said, I find it extremely frustrating that if (when) you break your lancing device, it can be so difficult to replace.

Let me vent here for a second and explain what I mean. Another one of our lancing devices recently broke. In order for me to get a replacement from my pharmacy, I had a few different options:

  1. I could purchase a new standalone lancing device ($25).
  2. I could buy a new Blood Glucose Meter (BGM) that has a lancing device with it. ($50+).
  3. I could buy 100 testing strips ($85) in order to get a free BGM in order to get a new lancing device.

Am I the only one that finds it hard to believe that a couple pieces of plastic with a spring and a dial costs even close to $25 to manufacture? I know, I know, the companies have to make money. I get that. But my guess is that the cost to make a lancing device is somewhere around the $3-$5 range (If there are any manufacturers that can confirm or disprove this, please feel free to comment). Even if a company marked that up 100%, it will still keep it within the $6-$10 range, which would be much more reasonable, and affordable.

The Dilemma

We currently use the BD Ultra Fine Lancets with a One Touch lancing device. We test with the Bayer ContourLink BGM that talks to our Medtronic Insulin pump that uses Humalog insulin. Are you still with me? So essentially, our family is buying diabetic supplies from 5 different companies: BD, One Touch, Bayer, Medtronic, and Lilly. In order to replace my One Touch lancing device, I have the three options above. Here’s where it gets interesting. Try to keep up with me here. By using options two or three I need to either buy a One Touch BGM or buy a hundred One Touch test strips in order to get a new One Touch BGM that comes with the One Touch lancing device. Unfortunately, the  One Touch test strips don’t work with my Bayer BGM, and One Touch currently doesn’t make a BGM that can talk to our Medtronic Insulin Pump (so I have been told). So basically, the One Touch BGM becomes useless to me, other than containing the correct lancing device, as soon as I get it. So the question is: Do I get the wrong strips for the wrong BGM in order to get the right lancing device, or do I suck it up and pay what I feel is $20 more than I should have to for the lancing device?

You may be thinking to your self, “But James, why not just use the lancing device that came with the Bayer BGM that you currently use?” I’ll tell you why. I don’t like the lancing device that came with the Bayer ContourLink. It sucks. Its bulky. I’m used to the One Touch lancing device. Fair enough?

So here’s a question. Could these companies offer a free or reduced cost “lancing device” when buying lancets? It makes a lot more sense to offer a lancing device with purchase of lancets, than to charge for a hundred test strips, in order to get a free BGM that has that lancing device. Right? Why make it more difficult than it has to be? Sometimes it’s okay to keep it simple.

What was my decision? Luckily, it turns out we had one more “backup” One Touch lancing device left. I’m spared from having to make that decision, for now. I sure hope this one never breaks…