The cost of testing supplies for self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) for people with diabetes is of relevance to current policy discussions in the province of Alberta. The issue has been identified by the CDA as a priority advocacy issue for the organization, and is also an important policy issue for Alberta Health and Wellness (AH&W), as well as other provincial health ministries. Proceedings from a province-wide forum on diabetes held in November 1999 include a specific policy recommendation that the AH&W ministry should pay for the cost of testing supplies for all people with diabetes. However, the evidence on which to base such a policy decision is lacking. A lack of public insurance coverage means that individuals have to pay for supplies privately, either out of pocket or through private insurance. Relying on private expenditures may contribute to a lack of adherence with recommendations for SMBG.

A decision regarding the insurance coverage for diabetes testing supplies would have a financial impact for provincial health systems. The purpose of this study is to estimate the costs of diabetes testing strips in Alberta for the year 2001. To produce this estimate, we used data from AH&W on the estimated number of people with diabetes in the province of Alberta and estimates of the cost of diabetes testing supplies from the province of Saskatchewan. The costs of diabetes testing supplies from Saskatchewan were derived as part of the study of overall costs of care for people with diabetes.

Research Team

Jeff Johnson, Chad Mitchell, Dean Eurich


Institute of Health Economics (Merck Foundation Pharmaceutical Policy Program Grant)


Mitchell CG, Simpson SH, Johnson JA. The cost of diabetes testing strips in Saskatchewan, 1996: A retrospective database analysis. Canadian Journal of Diabetes 2003; 27:149-153.