Diabetes Testing

Too Many Meters?

It seems like I get a new blood glucose meter just about every week. The latest is the GlucoLab, which HMD BioMedical LLC in Titusville, Florida, has started to distribute in the U.S.

I have used the GlucoLab, and can report that it is fine. It’s fast, taking just 5 seconds. It takes only 1 microliter of our precious blood. It will test on alternative sites. It can input activities and meals in relation to your level. It gave results close to results of two new LifeScan meters that my wife and I were testing at the same time.

A couple of nice touches are that you can set it for multi patient use – like a husband and wife – and that it will take the ambient temperature to make sure that it works correctly over a wide range. It will return an error message if the temperature is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit or above 104.

Unless you have insurance, however, the price of the meter and the strips can be a bit much. The suggested retail price of the meter is $74.99. For 50 test strips it’s $44.99.

Like most things, nowadays, this GlucoLab meter comes from Asia. But strangely it doesn’t say on the meter itself where it’s made. Isn’t there a law?

CEO Bryan Sowards told me, however, that Infopia Co., Ltd., in Korea makes it for them. Indeed, the back of the GlucoLab meter says that it is “manufactured by Infopia Co., Ltd.,” but doesn’t say where.

Infopia Co., Ltd., is the company in Kyunggi, Korea, that submitted the GlucoLab meter to the FDA for approval. The test strips do state – in very small letters – that they are “Made in Korea.” The back of the log book – which has the tiniest print I have ever tried to squint at in a log book – does say that Infopia is in Kyunggi, Korea, and so to does the owner’s manual.

It’s not surprising that the GlucoLab comes from Asia. While American firms are stopping the production of blood glucose meters, companies in Asia are more than picking up the slack.

Just last night I saw a couple of meters that I had never heard of before advertised in the October issue of Diabetes Health magazine. A medical supply company catering to people with diabetes called Diabetic Support Program in Wellington, Florida, says it has a new talking blood glucose meter called the Advocate.

This meter gives a result in 7 seconds and takes a “tiny blood sample,” according to the ad. You can use it to test on alternative sites. It will speak to you in either English or Spanish.

And “coming soon” is the Advocate Duo, a talking blood pressure monitor and blood glucose meter. When I called the company’s customer service line, it turns out that the both the Advocate and the Advocate Duo are coming soon. The Advocate will be coming in November.

Then I called Frank P. Suess, the company president. He told me that Taidoc Technology Corporation in San Chung, Taipei, manufactures the Advocate, the Advocate Duo, and a less expensive non-talking version of the Advocate. They apparently haven’t set the pricing yet, and Frank will be sending me at least one of these meters for review.

In the past 36 years we have gone from having no blood glucose meters to too many of them for people with diabetes and even our doctors to keep track of. We have a choice of dozens. I try to keep up with them, but it is an almost impossible task. I list and link all of our meter choices on Part 14 of my On-line Diabetes Resources.

I keep adding the new meters. But I just removed one yesterday.

Becton, Dickinson and Company in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, announced that it is exiting the blood glucose monitoring market. BD immediately stopped distributing its BD Logic meter (although it will continue to distribute test strips for the meter until December 2007).

BD will continue to make other diabetes products, including insulin syringes, pen needles, and lancets. Thank goodness for that! BD is the quality producer of these products.

I don’t think that many people will miss the Logic. But we make eventually miss having American-made products.

I looked around my place to find something made here, because I couldn’t remember whether the phrase was “Made in the U.S.” or “Made in U.S.A.” or something like that. I looked at dozens of the things that I have until I saw on the back of my Kidde fire extinguisher that it is “Made in U.S.A.”

We have more and more choices in meters and just about everything else. But before it’s too late, you might want to check to see if you have anything that is American made.

This article is based on an earlier version of my article published by HealthCentral.

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