Rescuing Diabetic Supplies

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December 8, 2010; Source: Fox/News Bulletin | You can’t argue with the logic that underpins a nonprofit that buys unused diabetes testing supplies and resells them well-below full price. In fact, Jay Koch would like his efforts to be seen as doing as much good for people with diabetes as the two major organizations—the American Diabetes Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation—that are searching for a cure.

“Those folks (ADA and JDRF) do a lot of good work and raise an awful lot of money to do research,” said Koch, “but they’re doing research to try to cure the disease. What I’m doing is very concrete. I’m moving stuff around and helping someone right here, right now. I can get them supplies they can’t otherwise afford.”

Koch’s Diabetic Supply Rescue of Valencia County, New Mexico, buys 50-count boxes of unused diabetes blood sugar test strips for $5 each, then sells them for $15 to people with no or low insurance coverage. The retail price for a box of test strips is closer to $50.

Koch says making strips affordable helps people without insurance who can’t afford to buy them and who then put their lives at risk by failing to test their blood sugar. Koch also has set up collection bins at area churches where people can drop off unused trips. Any leftovers are shared with Insulin for Life USA, a group that provides diabetes supplies to young people in 23 countries.—Bruce Trachtenberg