I use the Reli On Prime glucometer and test strips. Without health insurance I have grown to rely on them. Yes, that pun was intended. However, the last couple of trips to two different Walmarts in the southwestern Pennsylvania area has yielded slim pickings for the product. The first Walmart was completely out. The second Walmart only had two of the 100 count boxes of Reli On Prime blood glucose test strips.
I asked an employee in the pharmacy at the second Walmart if there was a supply problem with the Reli On Prime test strips. He said that he thinks that the 50 count test strips are being discontinued, and that the 100 count product size is going to be substituted. The 100 count box contains two 50 count bottles.
There is a green circle on the barcode label on the Walmart shelf for the 50 count boxes. The employee said this makes it likely that version has been discontinued. He said he would look into it to get more information. The green circle on the shelf label must have an internal meaning in the store that indicated to the employee I spoke to that the product was being “phased out” as he put it.
The issue I have is that there was no warning of this. A supply line interruption that is unforeseen obviously cannot come with a warning that inventory can get low. However, this appears to have been foreseen – to have been planned, actually. If that is the case, then this is a major issue. Why? Permit me to explain.
The consumers purchasing these test strips are likely to not have health insurance or have a high copay or other out-of-pocket expense for glucometer test strips. I am very grateful for the Reli On brand of diabetic supplies including the different test strips they make. However, since I use an insulin pump and absolutely have to test several times per day, I would really have appreciated a notice on the shelf that the 50 count product was going to be phased out, and to expect a possible supply shortage.
Fortunately for me, I found two 100 count boxes at the second Walmart. They had no other Reli On Prime test strips behind the counter. The shelves were empty of the 50 count boxes, and only the two 100 count boxes remained. I purchased them both. If worse came to worse, they did have other Reli On test strips for other meters made by that manufacturer, and I do own one of the other meters. Plus, the actual Reli On glucometers are not very expensive. I would not like to have to buy another one, but I could if necessary.
For insulin-dependent diabetics, running out of blood glucose test strips can be a problem. It can lead to dangerously high or low blood glucose readings. We rely on testing to adjust insulin dosing and carbohydrate intake. Using an insulin pump I need to have an accurate reading to know if I need to give a correction bolus if my blood glucose level is high. Also, with the changes I have been experiencing with hypoglycemic awareness, I need to know when to drink some juice or eat some glucose tabs.
I get a little nervous when my supply of test strips runs low. I test even in the middle of the night! If Walmart knew there was going to be a potential supply issue, they should have told all the diabetics buying their Reli On blood glucose test strips.
I do not want to end on a bad note making it sound like Walmart is the bad guy. If they made a mistake with this, maybe they will not do it again. I do want to be clear that I thank and applaud them for providing a line of affordable diabetic testing supplies. Without the Reli On brand, I would not be able to test my blood glucose levels as much as I need to. The other brands of test strips are just too expensive.