There is some good news for all those who need to check blood sugar levels regularly, as glucose test strips may be available for less than Rs 5 by year-end.
With prototypes of such blood glucose test strips, which now cost between Rs 30 to Rs 35, being developed by various organisations across the country with the help of Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), the economical version is likely to be made available by the end of December.
Secretary Health Research and Director General of ICMR V M Katoch said, "these strips will be made available by the end of this year".
He said, "The cost of such strips will drastically come down as ICMR has provided public and private organisations with its research technology. This will help bring the cost of such strips between Rs 3 to Rs 5."
Currently, such strips are available in the market for over Rs 30-35 and patients suffering from diabetes have to use the expensive kits extensively.
These glucose testing strips can also be used for screening of diabetes as well as for self regulation of sugar levels among those suffering from diabetes.
The country's cheapest strips are being developed by institutes like BITS Hyderabad, IIT Kharagpur, CMC Vellore and others and are part of ICMR's long-term sustained Indian solutions to help bring down the cost of equipment for the common public.
The step assumes significance as India is the diabetes capital with the country set to cross the diabetes burden of 100 million by the year 2030.
According to recent data, experts say the country has witnessed a 12 per cent increase in the number of diabetes cases to 61 million in 2012 as against 50.8 million in 2011. Diabetes is also a major reason for deaths in the country.
"These strips are aimed to provide 95 per cent accuracy, as with the currently available strips in the market and they will help largely in screening for diabetes," said S K Rao, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Katoch said different prototypes for such strips are being developed and tested currently before their formal launch in the market.
These include strips that are used with glucometers, besides those which can be used even without the use of glucometer and will have callibrations on them.
A different prototype is being developed for testing sugar levels through the saliva.