The “Good” in Good Glucos

WRITTEN BY: Michelle Boise

Good Glucos, a Canadian and US-based glucometer company, is the only one of its kind with a giving model. That means the company gives back to the community, providing their product to some who can’t afford it. For every 12 test strip subscriptions they sell, they will give one, 12-month subscription to someone who qualifies. Their FDA approved, Health Canada premium meter is free. Their delivery is free. And there is no contract, so you can cancel your script or adjust it at any time.

Similar to the popular Dollar Shave Club that makes grooming products more affordable and delivers them to your door, or Toms, the shoe company, that donates a pair of shoes to an impoverished child when they sell a pair, Good Glucos aims to disrupt diabetes medical supply pricing, and at the same time, provide a big social impact.

The founder and CEO of Good Glucos, Elliot Gatt, describes the company’s mission in a single sentence: “To make diabetic test strips accessible to everyone, regardless of income.” Sounds great, but how is it financially feasible? When Beyond Type 1 asks Elliot how he’s gotten his prices down to half of his competitors, there is no hesitancy in his response: “The sad truth is that we are just not gouging people who have diabetes. It is a cash cow for these pharma companies. We spent a lot of time researching companies and found a company that works for us and have worked into our giving model.”

Elliot has had Type 1 diabetes for 16 years now and was diagnosed at the age of 17. His mother also has recently developed Type 2. “My parents are artists,” Elliot explains, “so when I was diagnosed, it was like having another car payment without the car.” He talks about the shock of his diagnosis, not knowing anyone with Type 1 and how difficult it was to learn how to manage the unpredictable disease. “What made it even worse though, was paying for all these supplies — test strips and insulin. I always hoped people would make supplies more affordable and accessible.”

When it didn’t seem like this was going to happen, Elliot decided to do it himself. “57% of people in Canada don’t follow their prescriptions,” he says, “because of the expense.” That means that they aren’t taking optimal care of their health due to the high cost of medical supplies. “We’re currently in talks with the Canadian and American Diabetes Associations to see if we could be potential partners in helping more people get access to the supplies they need.”

As of their launch on January 16, 2017, the company will ask customers to sign up via their website, where they can also qualify for the free subscription by explaining their situation. Having personally known the difficulty to afford life-saving supplies, Elliot is passionate about changing that struggle for so many families affected by Type 1. People are responding to his business model and his message in a big way. From all over the world — Ireland, Japan, Russia, South Africa and the UK — people are asking how they can help get this project off the ground. In just eight months, Good Glucos has been able to organically grow over 8,000 followers on their Instagram without having launched their product yet. According to Elliot, it’s more than just selling a product, it’s about being held accountable to your costumers who depend on that product and making a social change for the greater good.

Another way Elliot makes an impact for the Type 1 community is by raising funds for the Canadian Diabetes Association and Beyond Type 1. He’s raised thousands of dollars by running a full marathon, 42.2 k (26 miles) in the freezing cold of Iceland — and later went on to run an ultra marathon in the sweltering heat of the Grand Canyon. In June of 2017, he’ll be biking with Beyond Type 1’s Bike Beyond Team from NYC to San Francisco to raise awareness and funds for Type 1. He tells us, “I would almost recommend it to anyone; you shock yourself being able to run [or bike] that far. It opens your mind to ‘I can do that.’”

That seems to sum up Elliot Gatt’s attitude — if you put your mind to it, you can do it.

Check out their website, and follow them on their Facebook and Instagram.

Read more stories of T1Ds who are entrepreneurial: No Grain, No Gluten – No Problem by Katie Coleman.

Michelle Boise

Michelle has a BA in English literature and Spanish and a MFA in writing from the University of San Francisco. As a writer, editor and content guru, she's worked on both literary magazines and e-commerce platforms. Before joining the Beyond Type 1 team, she developed health-conscious articles for Fitbit. When she's not writing, you can find her cooking or painting with acrylics (they dry faster). She is an expert decipher in the very serious discipline of finding hidden meaning in the seemingly meaningless.