More on #StripSafely.


No doubt you’ve already heard of the Strip Safely campaign. But maybe you’re still asking, “Stephen, what’s it all about? What can I do about it?”. Here’s the lowdown:

At a public meeting back in May, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (the FDA) acknowledged that there are glucose meters and test strips out there that are no longer as accurate as they were when they were approved by the FDA in the first place. That’s a big deal, no?

What if I also told you that even though the FDA acknowledges this issue, they have no program to perform post-market testing or remove inaccurate test strips from the market? Bigger deal, yes?

Our very lives depend on the accuracy of the numbers that appear on our meter’s display. If we see too low a number… we dose too little insulin and wind up with high glucose, high A1c results, and higher risks for complications later. If we see too high a number… we could dose too much insulin and wind up with severe hypoglycemia, or even death. No pressure, FDA.

So Bennett Dunlap and a few others started the Strip Safely initiative, to shine a light on this issue and encourage everyone affected by it to agitate. Call or write your congressional representatives, senators, and even the FDA. Voice your concern. Help lead the charge for better outcomes through more accurate test strips.

Want to do your part? I thought you would. Visit the Strip Safely site at There you’ll find a number of great templates you can use to send your own letter or e-mail. There are also links to help you find your elected officials in Washington. You can stay up to date on this issue with the latest updates, and even take the Strip Safely quiz to test your knowledge of test strip accuracy. Or take the quiz and then read about what’s happening… your choice.

For the record, here is a sample of the letters I sent by e-mail to U.S. Representative Dutch Ruppersberger, and U.S. Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin of Maryland:

Dear _______,

I’m a constituent who has been living with Type 1 Diabetes for the past 22 years. Because my pancreas doesn’t produce insulin on its own, I receive insulin through my insulin pump 24 hours per day.

How much insulin is administered is based on a number of factors. Most notably, my blood glucose. As you may know, people with diabetes check their glucose levels several times per day as a baseline for determining how much insulin to administer as a result of diet, exercise, stress, and a number of other factors.

I’ve recently learned that the Food and Drug Administration, at a public meeting, acknowledged that some glucose meters and test strips are not as accurate today as they were when they were approved for use in the first place. Furthermore, they have no method to deal with removal or review of potentially inaccurate products from the marketplace once they’re found to be inaccurate.

The issue is simple: If the readings on our meters are inaccurately low, we might wind up not taking enough insulin, which could result in dangerously high blood sugars. If our readings are inaccurately high, we might take too much insulin, which could result in hypoglycemia, insulin shock, and even death.

So we know that not all meters meet the +/- 20% standard set by the FDA in real world conditions. Some manufacturers are now delivering products into the market that put us at increased risk. The lack of an ongoing periodic post market audit of real world strip performance helps these manufacturers risk lives.

What I’m asking you and your fellow representatives/senators to do is to look into implementing a post market program of ongoing random sampling of glucose meters and test strips to insure that all brands consistently deliver the accuracy in the real world that they were approved to do.

Without question, meter and test strip accuracy means the world to myself and my loved ones. We want to know that the number on our glucose monitors is correct.
Because our lives depend on it. Won’t you help? Thanks so much for your consideration of this very important topic.

This is important. I’m going to say it again: Lives are at stake. I encourage you to get involved and help to save lives today.

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  • bennetdunlap  On July 19, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    YAY! Thanks for being part of the StripSafely campaign an getting the word out to write Congress. I look forward to hearing what if anything you hear back from your letter. My reply was lame but we need to start someplace right?

    Thanks again I linked you back off


  • Scott K. Johnson  On July 21, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Thanks for helping spread the word, Stephen!


    • StephenS  On July 22, 2013 at 6:42 am

      Scott… Thanks for being so supportive! It means a lot. I’m just trying to return the favor.


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