CHOICE membership

Dodgy Blood Glucose Monitors

Same Finger, Same Blood, Same Time - three NEW-ish machines, three different readings.

I have raised the issue that these meters, indeed all of them, need random sampling for quality control like 1 in every 1000, until the baseline for reliability is established - rather than just being prescribed, people need to be EDUCATED on the different types and models and their suitability for purpose.

Some are great for home use with large screens and font sizes, and some are more suited for active people with decent eye sight - or glasses…

AND people need to be education on how to use them.

I have also asked for the Freestyle (Abbott’s) to be withdrawn from the market until they supply manuals in english only - for the Australian market, and in size 12 fonts, instead of the evil Chinese microfonts of 1mm high or less - that no one can read.


I use test solution regularly to determine if my meter is within spec. They do admit that readings can be out by a plus or minus figure and if blood is drawn from the same lanced location readings can also differ.

Better to use a new lancet on a new location and retest than to draw from the same spot I have found (this is not saying you haven’t done so). Careful site cleaning is also necessary for good readings (again not saying you haven’t done so).

Battery health can also affect readings and the age of the strips which do have expiry dates.

The Guide meters are being replaced by the new Guide Me ones. You may be able to get a free replacement from your local family pharmacy.


Welcome to the Community @Prickly,

The TGA is interested in these devices. (from p19 of a high level document)

System for the self-monitoring of blood glucose.

Each device is classified individually, with the highest class applying to the overall system:
– the glucose meter is classified as a Class 1 IVD as per rule 1.6
– the glucose reagent test strip is a Class 3 IVD because an incorrect result obtained when self-testing for blood glucose may lead to a life-threatening situation
– the lancet is a Class IIa medical device

You might be interested in this somewhat dated advisory page from the TGA.

All issues you experience should be reported to them.


Yeah thanks for being helpful in your reply.

I did the test by setting up the meters with their strips, and then doing ONE big drop of blood and sampling it with all three meters.

AND the lancette - I reuse the old one, repeatedly with a flush of isopropyle alcohol after each use.

I can’t stand the idea of churning through vast amounts of them, when the needle is essentially good for a few thousand insertions.

ALL the meters are essentially NEW-ish and the combined use between the three of them, makes them get a 3 x a day use for about 2 or 3 weeks each.

I have also sent a report to the, and the, about this issue.

I would not mind if all the readings (making this up) averaged say 6.0 - with the lowest at 5.95, then 6.0 and then 6.05 (yes 2 decimal places - but you get my intent) - but the three readings coming in at 5.7, 6.5 and 8 - that is a spread of 2.3 between all the readings - and this is just bullshit, AND it’s potentially REALLY dangerous bullshit.

OK I have set my span from 5 to 6 mml/L with a tolerance of minus 1 (4 mml/L) to plus 2 (8.0 mml/L).

With the LOW blood sugar levels, I will accept down to 4 -ish as a short term temporary drop in the early part of the day, as below this is getting into Hypoglycemic territory = 3.5 mmol/L and below = coma and possibly death. But I will not go down to four in the evening. A feed of complex carbs (tinned lentil soup) is a good antidote and no insulin is the go.

But what if the reading is say 4.2 and the actual level is 1.9?

Or it’s “within range” at 5.0 and the real level is 3.8?

I know about the issues of “Oooo I am getting very tired” and it’s coming on within 20 to 30 minutes, “Time for a few boiled lollies and a decent meal”.

I mean “WHO am I to trust?”

The Chinese with their dubious “knock off’s and fakes” industry or the Germans with their nit picky issues for quality.

This documentary is DISTURBING - not because my hand bag, wig and dresses are fakes, but for the medical side of things… People are dying from garbage fake medical products.

Counterfeiting:The Business of Counterfeits and Knock Offs - Documentary Guru

You can use this site to archive important videos.


Can I suggest joining a Diabetes specific forum? The one I go to is and I have learned a lot from being there, asking questions and above all doing lots of reading of their suggested resources.

The meters aren’t “dodgy”, you can expect differences in readings, and if nobody warned you about this, thats a real shame. In some cases, they can be +/- 20% of the “real” reading. They arent supposed to be accurate, they are just for guidance about what to do with your diet. I don’t think any claim to be 100% accurate. For myself, I found the Roche meters to be the least accurate of all (apart from Dario which was a really fiddly thing with strips that expired way too quickly). I tended to like the Freestyle Lite best, though these days I use the Freestyle Libre reader (can’t afford the sensors except occasionally on a pension) which has a rechargeable battery, much more convenient. I also have an Optium but rarely use it. The strips from that are compatible with the reader and I am generally happy with the results although low is rarely as low as it reads.

I also use an app called RapidCalc (still available but no longer owned by the original developer and iOS only) fr calculating doses of rapid acting insulin as required. Best used in conjunction with information and education given by your endocrinologist and diabetes educator, because there’s a lot of info to be plugged in before you can use it properly.

Hope this is of some assistance.
[edit] Rapidcalc website:


Sue, you appear to have misunderstood the information I have supplied.

The issue isn’t the absolute accuracy of an individual meter, it’s the three completely different readings, from three different meters, taken from the same drop of blood, at the same time.

It’s the HUGE divergence, between the three readings, that is the issue.

Perhaps you could revisit the issue and look at the numbers on the meters in the picture.

This use of a single drop may lead to contamination of the strips that follow the first, each strip has a compound on the receiving end that can contaminate the remaining drop. This is why if you take a second reading I strongly recommend a new site and a new drop to test. I retest always on a new finger and a new drop of blood to sample for my readings.

I note you are happy to reuse your lancet, again I would recommend a new lancet each use, however you may do as you wish. There is a risk of wound contamination from reusing them even if you clean them before reuse. The recommendation of all the diabetes educators and Departments I have visited is that lancets should not be reused, this is not a scheme to wring more money out of us it is a recommendation based on risk assessments of reuse.


No need. You need to choose one meter and stick to it. What you should be looking for is rises and falls on one meter or you will never be able to keep up with it. Have you been recently diagnosed? T2?



That randomness in the results is quite a surprise to me.
I have helped my Miss 22 for the last 18 years manage her T1 and we have never had this problem. Yes, we use 4 meters depending on where she is, especially when she was a little tacker staying with me, her mum and her grandparents.
First thing to keep in mind before we panic is that the order of accuracy of these meters is not very tight - they aren’t precision devices but I always found our lot to be fairly close. This was checked at every clinic day at SCH Randwick when all the meters were uploaded into the hospital computer. There we could see any outliers in BGL coz the various readings were at random times.
Her Ladyship is blessed with the ability to have a very good idea what her current BGL actually is before doing a test. She has no idea how she knows but she really does. Hence these variations in meters would come to her attention.
Given that you, Prickly, have found this problem it needs to be addressed. BGL can be a matter almost of life or death for T1s so we need answers.

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