2 studies in CMAJ - Canadian Medical Association Journal suggest that routine self-monitoring of blood glucose levels by people with type 2 diabetes who are not taking insulin is an ineffective use of health resources as the modest benefits are outweighed by the significant cost of test strips.
In Ontario, blood glucose test strips are the third largest cost for the Ontario Public Drug Programs in 2007/08, accounting for $100 million or 3.3% of drug expenditures. Usage of test strips increased by almost 250% from 76,320 people in 1997 to 263,513 people in 2008. Almost 53% of people aged 65 and over with diabetes received diabetes test strips by 2008. Sixty-three per cent of patients not receiving insulin used blood glucose test strips in 2008.
Advertisement"In light of the overall costs and questionable benefits of blood glucose self-monitoring in many patients, more focused policy decisions regarding test strips have been proposed in several jurisdictions," write Muhammad Mamdani of St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto and coauthors in a study on options to reduce test strip usage. They project that expenditures associated with blood glucose self-monitoring will exceed $1 billion in Canada and suggest policy changes could lead to cost reductions.