Saving on Diabetes Supplies


Did you know you don’t necessarily need a prescription to get some diabetes supplies? Whether you need extra supplies to prepare for an emergency or need a temporary cheaper option for supplies, you can purchase test strips, monitors, lancing devices, lancets and more over-the-counter. 

Preferably, this should be a temporary solution to diabetes management. Please contact your doctor about filling prescriptions to ensure you receive the number of supplies you need to prevent further lapses in care.  

Here’s some guidance on purchasing diabetes supplies over-the-counter:

Store chains like Walmart, CVS and Walgreens carry their own manufactured test strips, lancets, test strips and monitors. Some may be less expensive than name-brands. 

If you’re using one of the more recognized brands, check to see if they’re compatible with generic test strips. For example, Walmart’s Equate test strips are compatible with some of the One Touch meters. 

As far as price is concerned, the prices range depending on the brand. Test strips are usually the most costly compared to monitors, lancing devices and lancets. 

Other ways you can save:

Prescription Cost-Saving Websites: 

Still, if you’re getting your diabetes supplies with a prescription, there are ways you can save. Check out websites like GoodRx, where you can search for medications and equipment and print free coupons to use at the pharmacy. GoodRx also allows you to compare prices for every FDA-approve drug at more than 70,000 pharmacies in the U.S. Blink Health, WeRx and Pharmacy Checker are also similar cost-saving websites that help you locate discounted medications at your local pharmacy. 

Test-Strip Subscriptions: 

Buying test strips in bulk can save you money than buying them individually or on a monthly basis. Consider signing up for a test strip subscription service. We list several subscription services here to help you decide what’s most cost-effective for you. 

Contact the manufacturer: 

Some manufacturers may offer free meters depending on qualifying measures. Some companies may require the purchase of test-strips in order to receive a meter. Contact your preferred glucose monitoring manufacturer to inquire about any offers to receive a free glucose monitoring meter. 

Ask Which Generics are Covered By Insurance:

There’s no harm in letting your healthcare team or insurance company know that name-brand supplies are too expensive. Ask your doctor, pharmacist, or health plan to recommend any generic brands to your supplies and medications, including insulin, that may be low-cost or covered by insurance.

Contact a Community Health Clinic, Non-Profits and Patient-Assistance Programs: 

If you need more help accessing and saving on diabetes supplies, including insulin, contact local community health clinics in your area, non-profits and diabetes patient assistance programs (PAP). PAPs may require you to fill out an application and have eligibility requirements. However, these programs typically provide medication at no cost to people who qualify. 

Other diabetes management supplies to get over-the-counter: 

  • Syringes 
  • Compression socks for people with complications like neuropathy 
  • Glucose tablets
  • Blood pressure monitor 
  • Diabetes supplies cases  

WRITTEN BY T'ara Smith, MS, Nutrition Education, POSTED 04/24/20, UPDATED 10/09/22

T’ara was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in July 2017 at the age of 25. Since her diagnosis, she focused her academic studies and career on diabetes awareness and living a full life with it. She’s excited to have joined the Beyond Type 1 team to continue her work. Two years later, T'ara discovered she'd been misdiagnosed with type 2 and actually has latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA). Outside the office, T’ara enjoys going to the movies, visiting parks with her dog, listening to BTS and cooking awesome healthy meals. T’ara holds an MS in Nutrition Education from American University.