Have you ever wonder why some test strips are much more expensive than others? Where do you think the price difference between a less known brand such as Prodigy and a well known brand such as OneToch Ultra Blue comes from? Is it just the branding, or is there more?!
There are several factors that can make a test strip more expensive than the other. The most critical factors include performance (precision of results, test time, test site, and sample size; with respect to their compatible glucose meters), availability, branding, and insurance coverage. There is another factor – manufacturer cost- the cost the manufacturer accrues to make the test strips.
Though it seems that most test strips are created equally, the manufacturer cost can vary greatly depending on where they are made. To keep the production cost low, many companies resort to Product Offshoring. Product offshoring happens when a company decides to outsource their manufacturing or operational processes with the goal of lowering the cost of their products.
The manufacturing cost is a critical factor in determining the final price of a test strips, but does “where” glucose test strips are manufactured have a deep impact on the final price of a test strip for the consumer? To find the answer we are going to look at glucose test strip brands manufactured in the United States versus the brands manufactured overseas.
Test Strips Manufactured in the United States
Based on the blueprints found on the test strip boxes, the following glucose test strips are manufactured in the United States:
GenStrip50 | Accu-check Aviva Plus | Accu-Check SmartView | Nipro TrueBalance | Nipro TrueTrack | Nipro TrueTest | Bayer Breeze2 | OneTouch Ultra Blue
Test Strips Manufactured Overseas
Here is a list of glucose test strips manufactured overseas.
EvenCare G2 (made in Taiwan) | CareSensN (Korea) | Embrace (Taiwan) | Unistrip1 (Taiwan) | EasyTouch (Taiwan) | Advocate Redi-Code+ (Taiwan) | Prodigy (Taiwan) | Accu-check Compact Plus (Germany) | Bayer Contour (Japan) | Bayer Contour Next (Japan) | Arkray GlucoCard Expression (Taiwan) | Arkray GlucoCard Expression (Taiwan) | Freestyle Lite (Taiwan)
Three Interesting Observations
- Accu-Check Compact Plus, arguably the most popular of the three Accu-Check test strips (Aviva Plus, SmartView, and Compact Plus) and one of the top 5 most popular test strips used in the United States in 2015 is manufactured overseas. Roche, the manufacturer of Accu-Check test strips has a manufacturing plant in Indianapolis that turns out over 4 billion test strips a year. Though it’s unclear why Roche chooses to get the Compact Plus manufactured oversea, it’s evident from sell prices in the retail market that Compact Plus is sold at a lower price than the other two.
- Nipro test strips (TrueTrack, TrueBalance, and TrueTest) are made in the United States. Only TrueTrack and Truebalance are manufactured in the United States, while TrueTest, the most of popular of the three, is manufactured overseas. Interestingly, unlike AccuCheck Compact Plus, all three brands of Nipro are often sold at the same price. Clearly, product offshoring in this case does not play a critical role in the final price of the test strip.
- Lastly, Breeze2, the least popular of the three Bayer test strips, is manufactured in the U.S. Though manufactured in the U.S, Breeze2 is sold at a higher price than Bayer Contour and Bayer Contour next test strips.
It’s safe to conclude that almost all less-known test strip brands are manufactured overseas. This could very well be due to lower production costs. However, the same is not true about some of the brand name brand test strips. For example Freestyle test strips, which are among the most popular test strips, are made overseas. Despite the lower manufacturing cost, Freestyle test strips continue to be one of the most expensive test strips. This shows that although “where the test strips is manufactured” plays a role in the final price of the less known test strip brands, it does not necessarily have a great impact on the final price of well known test strip brands.