I was about to settle in front of the TV on Thursday night (which I’ve been doing a lot of lately hence the blog break), when Twitter exploded with the news of Animas discontinuing the sale of insulin pumps in the US and Canada. Customers with in-warranty pumps will be referred to Medtronic for consumables, before eventually having to choose a different brand of pump.
I knew that parent company Johnson and Johnson had been evaluating their insulin pump business for some time. I also knew that there weren’t really any exciting enhancements in the pipeline for the Animas Vibe, compared to some of the other insulin pump players in the market. Yet the news of Animas shutting up shop was still a real shock to the system.
So what does this mean for Australia? For the time being it’s business as normal, with the delivery of insulin pumps and consumables unaffected. AMSL Diabetes, distributor of the Animas Vibe insulin pump here in Australia, issued a brief statement via Facebook on Friday.
“Animas Corporation, a division of Johnson & Johnson, has announced overnight their plans to discontinue the manufacture and sale of the Animas Vibe insulin pump and exit out of the insulin pump business in the USA and Canada.
We feel that it is important that you understand that this does not affect your supply of consumables, technical support or after sales service. AMSL Diabetes is a distributor for Animas and we are continuing business as usual.”
The press release issued, however, indicates Johnson and Johnson’s intention to eventually exit the insulin pump business globally subject to consultation and timing.
When Animas does exit the market here in Australia, that leaves us with Cellnovo, Medtronic and Roche. Roche also ceased the sale of Accu Chek insulin pumps in the US earlier this year, triggering the following response from one of my contacts at Roche Diabetes Care Australia:
“I was shocked to see Animas’ announcement yesterday. Anything that reduces choice in insulin pump therapy for people is never positive.
Looking at peoples responses on social media I see that a lot of people think Medtronic and, to a lesser extent, Cellnovo are the only options left on the Australian market if Animas should ever exit here. There also seems to be a perception that, because It is no longer available in the US, Accu-Chek Combo been withdrawn globally. This perception is not accurate.
Accu-Chek Combo is manufactured in Europe and continues to be available for people with diabetes in many countries including Australia. Please be assured that Roche Diabetes Care is here to serve people needing insulin pump therapy both now and longer term both with our current tried and trusted Combo and with our exciting and innovative pipeline of products.”
While Animas have signalled their intent to (eventually) exit the insulin pump market globally, Roche have not signalled any intent of exit outside of the US. I hope, for the sake of choice, that they don’t.
I can’t say that I’ve ever felt super excited about my pump. I mean, it does it’s job. Quite nicely, I might add. However it wasn’t until I was wondering around the exhibition hall at ADS-ADEA last month that I began to appreciate why I use what I use. Looking at some of the other options on show that weren’t for me, really made me appreciate having a choice.
I really, really don’t like seeing Medtronic eating up the market in the US, and I really do hope that the affected Animas and Roche customers will choose a replacement pump option that best suits their needs. One brand of pump should never be the only option for people with diabetes.
With Animas on the way out, Tandem’s t-slim Dexcom integrated touch screen pump would surely be a natural successor to the Vibe for Aussie distributor AMSL diabetes.
Let’s make it happen sometime before my current warranty expires in 2020…
Frank, you are one of the people I thought about when I heard about Animas’ demise. So frustrating to be losing choices. In the US we are down to 3 from 6 just a couple of years ago. I hope Tandem can come to Australia. It’s a really nice pump, and they are struggling to keep afloat but all fingers and toes are crossed they make it. I cannot stand Medtronic for their really dirty tactics to kill competition.
Medtronic’s moves just feel so bullish. I really worry about the pump landscape in the States, I just hope people don’t feel compelled to go from Animas to MedT.
I think we will see a host of new pump options int he Us soon. I think this is a short term situation. I really like my Medtronic pump and I am glad to be a Medtronic ambassador. But, just the same I am not overjoyed about the diminishing number of manufacturers. Diversity is good for all consumers.
As long as the big money keeps flowing from pump sales and supplies to keep them running, more companies will get involved in pump manufacturing.