Animas Pumps Discontinued
Editor’s Note: This announcement affects customers in the US and Canadian markets only.
CHESTERBROOK, Pa., – Johnson & Johnson’s Diabetes Care Company, Animas Corporation has announced the intended discontinuation of manufacturing The Animas® Vibe® and OneTouch Ping® insulin pumps. Animas Corporation has pledged to continue customer support and training, as well as provide warranty for the pump supplies associated with the discontinued devices for a period of time. Through Sept. 30, 2019, Medtronic will provide Animas supplies to those who continue using these insulin pumps.
Animas Corporation has pledged to continue customer support and training, as well as provide warranty for the pump supplies associated with the discontinued devices for a period of time. Currently, only US and Canadian customers are affected. Details still to be released regarding how this will impact those in Australia, New Zealand and international markets.
Valerie Asbury, General Manager of Animas Corporation, made a statement to current pump users, saying, “We recognize that patients living with diabetes rely on our products to provide critical care, and we want to reassure them that we will be with them every step of the way throughout this transition.”
While current Animas users will have support to transition to Medtronic at no cost (avoiding the threat of losing a pump altogether or fighting with insurance providers for coverage), the move leaves many in the US and Canadian diabetes community uneasy. Just earlier this year, Roche discontinued its Accu-Chek® insulin pump, leaving one less device option for people with type 1 diabetes in an already small pump market. Roche also directed customers to Medtronic.
For many with type 1 who depend on insulin pumps to improve their diabetes management and overall health, the news is distressing. Dana Howe, social media manager at Beyond Type 1 and Tandem pump user, gave her personal reaction to the industry news, saying, “Sometimes business decisions aren’t aligned with the priorities of the community.”
The reality of business decisions in the healthcare sector is that the discontinuance of products isn’t typically based on customer satisfaction or even need. It usually comes from company benchmarks that aren’t public-facing. “It isn’t that one insulin pump is necessarily better than any other,” says Dana. “It’s more about the fear the community has of not having a choice.”
“To lose that choice of something you depend so much on can be stressful,” says Dana. “And the care needs and styles of people with type 1 diabetes can vary greatly.”
Features play a big part in insulin pump selection and are as varied as color case options. Tubing versus tubeless. Touchscreen versus manual buttons. Feature development can, and should, be driven by patient needs and feedback. With less competition in the market, the remaining manufacturers have even more of a duty to consult with patients and patient groups.
What does a current Animas customer do?
- Stay on Animas for a period of time as Medtronic will provide supplies through September 2019: the community is awaiting further information about support for current customers from Animas in terms of warranty, training and support.
- Transition to Medtronic: Animas negotiated an agreement with Medtronic to allow users to transition onto Medtronic devices free of charge.
- Transition to Omnipod: Like the offer extended to Roche customers, Insulet’s Omnipod Welcome Program allows eligible Animas pumpers to get started on the tubeless Omnipod with no upfront cost.
- Transition to Tandem: For a limited time, eligible Animas pump users can use a Tandem insulin pump for the remainder of their warranty, (up to a year), for a one-time payment of $999.
New insulin pumps currently in development offer the prospect of additional options for patients in the future. Bigfoot Biomedical, for example, is developing an automated insulin delivery system—the Smartloop System—and is currently in clinical trials. And who knows if other internationally-available pumps, such as the DANA Diabecare pumps from South Korea, will cross into US and Canadian markets eventually. Time will tell.
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