Are All Home-Based Blood Sugar Tests Equal?
FDA takes steps to eliminate potential risks for people with diabetes
The FDA's draft guidance document addressed this by asking manufacturers to describe their accuracy on their labels. This would allow consumers to better compare devices and judge for
Concerns, however, extend beyond manufacturers and standards.
"We are concerned that many Medicare patients have experienced issues getting the strips they want -- and those recommended by their doctor -- as a result of the competitive bidding program," Watkin said. That program, which started last summer, lowers the cost of blood-testing supplies, but limits where people can go to buy them. "They could unwillingly be getting switched to brands that potentially have lower accuracy," he said.
Dunlap also expressed some worry about people's lack of control over which product they choose and lack of information to make the right choice.
"The expectation that market forces can influence the market depends on a truly free market, and full and complete information," Dunlap said. "Right now, it's difficult to know which devices are more or less accurate."
However, people with diabetes "should continue to test and rely on test strips," the FDA's Lias said. "Be assured that test strips are safe and effective."
And, she said, "if any given test strip result doesn't match the way you feel, retest."
Dunlap urged people to go one step further: If you've had a problem with a blood glucose meter or a test strip, be sure to report it both to the manufacturer and the FDA.