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Dr. Bill's Commentaries

Meter marketing madness   (December 2, 2007)

Two things about meter marketing recently struck me as madness.

First: I just received an e-mail from a very frustrated person, who wrote complaining that a meter manufacturer's website was supposed to be able to allow him to log in registration information for his new meter, but he couldn't find where to go on the website to do the registration thing. He had a very interesting comment: "I figure if the meter is cheap enough for a doctor to give it to me, it's not worth fixing if it breaks. Do they use these warranty cards or just gather the marketing info and throw the warranty card away?"

Second: this past week, I received a box full of coupons for diabetes stuff -- including 36 coupons good for free meters! The coupon specifies that "This entitles you to receive one glucose meter from Abbott, FREE of charge." You do have to have a doctor's prescription, and take the two to your local pharmacy. Oh, and bring along some money: they are not giving away any strips: "Test strips sold separately." It almost like getting a free automobile, but "gasoline sold separately" (well, almost, but not quite -- yet!). It's at the point where anybody can get a meter for free -- but of course there's always the catch: the strips are expensive, and I've never seen the meter companies give away the strips. So the marketing madness of giving away meters isn't exactly crazy -- more crazy like a fox.

PS: You might wonder what I'll do with these 36 coupons for free meters. Yes, I'll give them away. If you want a free Freestyle meter (made by Abbott), and send me a stamped, self-addressed envelope, then I'll send you one of the coupons; you'll have to get your doctor's prescription. As soon as I send out the last coupon, I'll put a notice on this SharePost that they're all gone. [Note: As of March, 2012, no one ever sent me a request for the meter coupons. Oh well. I tried.]

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Dr. Bill Quick began writing at HealthCentral's diabetes website in November, 2006. These essays are reproduced at D-is-for-Diabetes with the permission of HealthCentral.

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