Insulet pounces on Animas insulin pump users

Johnson & Johnson’s Animas unit announced Thursday that it would exit the insulin pump business in the U.S. and Canada. Now, Insulet is offering a free trial of its “pod-based” insulin pump to Animas users.

Animas said it would halt the manufacturing and sale of its Vibe and OneTouch Ping pumps after “extensive exploration of all viable other options,” including a joint venture, divestiture or operating partnership. The company offered Animas users the option to switch to a Medtronic pump and will keep supporting Animas users through a transition period.

Now, Insulet is inviting Animas users to try its Omnipod device, which delivers insulin using a “pod” worn on the skin rather than through a catheter. A patient fills the “pod” with insulin, sticks it on his or her body and then requests bolus insulin using a hand-held device.

“We are offering this program to help ensure people with diabetes have a choice when it comes to their treatment options,” said Bret Christensen, Insulet’s chief commercial officer, in a release. “We realize this is a challenging time for Animas customers and Insulet is deeply committed to providing access to Omnipod and its unique benefits enjoyed by more than 100,000 customers across the globe.”

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Insulet’s announcement comes after JDRF voiced concerns over competition and consumer choice in the diabetes device market. And in a new statement, the nonprofit touched on what Animas’ decision might mean for other diabetes device makers.

“[The] Animas news raises the question about the viability of business for other companies in the diabetes space, something we remain very concerned about,” wrote Aaron Kowalski, Ph.D., chief mission officer of JDRF. “While we cannot control all the factors in the marketplace, we’re working hard to support innovation and sustainable business models with funding, regulatory support, policy efforts and more.”