#StripSafely Update. And a question.

Safety of the test strips we use, and the meters we plug them into, is a great big deal to everyone living with diabetes. It also means a lot to the people who love me and count on me to be there for them.

So I aligned my views with those in the Diabetes Online Community who also believe that A) The 20 percent +/- factor that’s currently allowed for test strips is NOT NEARLY GOOD ENOUGH, and B) The fact that the FDA has no post-approval mechanism in place to verify the continued accuracy of test strips they approved earlier, or pull them from the market if they’re not, IS NOT OKAY.

As a measure of support, and to help in getting these wrongs righted, I wrote my elected officials in Washington. U.S. Representative Dutch Ruppersberger, D-MD, and U.S. Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin, also D-MD, received e-mails from me expressing my concern and asking them to assist.

That was nearly three weeks ago.

But hey– a week ago I received an e-mail response from Senator Mikulski, the longest-serving woman in United States Senate history. I’ll share it right here, but be sure to come back after reading, because I want to ask about something.


Other than the fact that this was pretty much a form letter, I was actually happy to have received a response at all. Seriously, even if they’re not busy all the time, senators get requests from a seemingly endless stream of attention-grabbers and favor-seekers on a constant basis.

No, what really struck me were the two images at the bottom of the letter. You know, the Facebook and Twitter icons.

So I want to ask: What if a coordinated effort was put together to bombard Facebook and Twitter accounts of U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators for the #StripSafely cause? It could start with House and Senate committee members responsible for FDA oversight, and perhaps move on to people with oversight of the U.S. Commerce department. Somewhere in there, we could get around to House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

I don’t know… Maybe it all sounds a little too “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”. But don’t we believe in our own cause just as much as Jimmy Stewart did in that movie? And I have to ask: Don’t you think that together, we could make some kind of impact? If there are so many people in on the #DSMA Twitter Chats every Wednesday, wouldn’t the same kind of numbers all tweeting or messaging at the same time, about the same thing, to the same people, get an elected official to take notice?

What do you think, Diabetes Online Community? Good idea? Bad idea? Feel free to leave your ideas below.

For more on this important issue, visit the Strip Safely central at www.stripsafely.com

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  • Mike Hoskins  On August 5, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Well done on the letter, Stephen. And it’s good to get a response, even if it’s a form letter. Yes, bombarding Congress via social media is a great idea. I included a link to Congressional twitter accounts back in my June post about meter/strip accuracy. That’s here: http://www.diabetesmine.com/2013/06/they-said-what-about-diabetes-meter-accuracy.html.


  • Scott E  On August 5, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Not a bad idea, but I wonder — and I’m just thinking out loud here, is quantity or quality more effective? Bombarding a Twitter account with 1000 statements in 140 characters or less may not be as convincing as one excellently-worded letter, and on Facebook, that one letter might get missed amid the overwhelming “me too”s.

    On the other hand, numbers speak loudly, and when appealing to voters, politicians look to the volume of people who pull the lever in the machine, not the thoughtfulness or intelligence of those people.

    I’m not saying one method is better than the other….just giving something to think about.


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