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September 10, 2008

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Question from Rustburg, Virginia, USA:

I want to be able to purchase my test supplies online. My insurance covers the cost. However, I want to deal with reputable seller and wanted to get feedback from someone with far more experience than me. Who do your readers use, if you know, or who is known to reputable?

Answer:

Mail order and online pharmacies certainly offer convenience, and sometimes also offer a price advantage over local pharmacies, but not always. If I were looking to purchase diabetes supplies using an online pharmacy, I would look for one that has been in business for many years. Reviewing ads in the back of diabetes magazines, like Diabetes Forecast, can also offer insight.

On our page listing some mail order and online pharmacies, we also offer the following suggestions to be an informed consumer:
Be sure to ask for the prices of all products you purchase, especially if the company is billing your insurance company for you. If their prices are excessive, you will reach your insurance limits sooner than if you purchased from a store with better prices. Companies that will not reveal their prices should be avoided. Be careful about companies that waive an insurance deductible. In some states, this practice is illegal and can void your insurance coverage. There are reports of companies illegally diverting pharmacy products, including diabetes supplies, destined for sale outside of the United States back into the United States for sale at prices below the manufacturer’s best US wholesale price. Such diverted product might have been damaged during shipment and storage. Insulin and test strips are especially vulnerable to improper handling and storage. As always, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

JSH