All change for Animas users? Yes, and no (or at least ‘not yet’).

Animas UK and Ireland has confirmed that it is withdrawing from the insulin pump supply market and is presently working through a transition period with current users of the Animas Vibe insulin pump delivery system.

The news that Animas was to exit the insulin pump supply market across the globe initially came out early October 2017. Since then, the company has been in consultation with its staff in the UK and Ireland. Ironically, this was a market where sales and profits were in fact healthy, but due to other factors in the world market, the decision was taken to withdraw completely from the insulin delivery devices market.

In a letter sent to customers around 18 January (which went out to some in email format), it transpired that – as per the precedent set in American and Canadian markets – the chosen partner for a period of transition is Medtronic.

Medtronic has been chosen as a partner for this period due to the company’s strong track record and that a partner had been sought so that the company’s customers would have a point of ongoing contact during this period of unexpected change.

However, both companies are keen to highlight that transitioning to Medtronic does not mean there is any need for anyone to change their insulin pump or supplies at this time.

As well as contacting its customer base, Animas UK is also liaising with NHS Tender Authorities and Foundation Trusts around the country to further progress the transition. Once agreements have been confirmed, then there will be further communications from Animas to its user base.

As it stands, there are still a few Animas pumps that are being taken up with some Healthcare Professionals (HCPs) happy to put their patients on to them while they are still available. Anyone newly on an Animas pump, or just about to go on one, will just have to reconsider their options in four year’s time, at the end of the current pump’s warranty, like anyone else on a pump in the UK. Obviously, at that point an Animas pump will no longer be an option.

Animas will continue in the UK and Ireland with Customer Support staff remaining to oversee and assist with this transition period, but trainers and sales personnel have, where possible, been relocated within the parent company.

Seamless transition
As of now, customers will still call in to the Animas careline number as usual (Monday-Friday 9am-5pm, 0800-028-8039 (Ireland: 1800-812-715).  If they wish, Animas users can request that someone from Medtronic calls them to talk about the company’s range of pumps and CGM options. They will not be moved over any sooner than the end of their Animas four-year warranty. But to make that contact, submit your details at their dedicated Animas contact form.

Both companies emphasize that seamlessness is the main intention in order to minimize any concerns that Animas pump users may be feeling about the changes. The pump choice still lies with the patient and their HCP.

There is a specific Medtronic-Animas webpage with this information:

Animas Customer Support, Monday-Friday 9am-5pm, 0800-028-8039 (Ireland: 1800-812-715).

The point of the Animas-Medtronic partnership is to provide a safety net for Animas’ customers. Animas is not leaving them in the lurch by withdrawing suddenly and completely. While Medtronic has been asked to step into the breach, the fact that it’s probably the biggest supplier of insulin pumps in the UK and the oldest insulin pump suppliers in the world, so can be seen as a safe pair of hands.

Right now, the best advice for Animas users is to carry on as normal. So much so that apparently some HCPs are saying, ‘If we can get you an Animas pump, then go on it,’ so new users are still joining the ranks. There will be a point when you will have to move away from Animas, but you will not have to do that before your warranty runs out (all pumps in the UK have a four-year warranty, so you can choose the best pump for you four years after your last pump change).

No one likes being forced to change anything, but rest assured that only those whose warranties are coming to an end soon have anything to think about for now. Conversations about pump changes will happen as per normal, and there’s more choice now than when your last decision was made despite Animas leaving the market.

It has been recommended that anyone using any Lifescan, Dexcom or Diasend products continue to do so but talk to their HCP for advice on changing blood test meter, CGM or pump systems.

Notably, many Animas users also use Dexcom’s CGM system. Those keen to keep using Dexcom may want to look at insulin pumps that are wired up to receive Dexcom’s data, such as the Omnipod. As of this year, Insulet Corp, the company behind Omnipod, has a UK-based sales force and support centre whereas previously the pump was available via a distributor, Ypsomed, the parent company of which is based in Switzerland.

Gearing up to take over all Omnipod users previously being looked after by Ypsomed, which had the contract for Europe for the past several years, Omnipod is becoming a more viable choice with better price comparisons for CCGs than in the past. Once having the reputation of being ‘too expensive’, the Omnipod – an actual patch pump that uses an on-the-body-pod, is gaining ground now that it is more price-competitive for Trusts who are funding pumps within the NHS. Both originally US-based companies, Insulet Omnipod has a long association of working with Dexcom. Dexcom’s latest CGM model works with smartphones, the app for which can be configured to alert the user to oncoming high or low blood sugars.

Medtronic‘s 640g pump works with the company’s own Enlite CGM. Together these technologies enable another one that’s onboard: SmartGuard. This means that when the sensor indicates that a low blood sugar seems imminent, the pump can be programmed to automatically suspend insulin delivery at a preset level thus, in many cases, avoiding a hypo.

What’s with warranties?
In the UK insulin pumps are given to patients with a four-year warranty. At that point, patients can discuss with their healthcare professional which is the best pump for them to use. There may be newer models from the same supplier, or they may find that a pump from a different supplier better suits their needs at that stage.

Read the original news report from October 2017 here: Animas Exits Insulin Pump Market Globally

INSULIN PUMP OPTIONS: For a full array of currently available (and some soon-to-be-available) insulin pumps see the main feature (p.22) in this issue of the magazine: June 2017 Insulin Pump Overview

CGM OPTIONS: The currently available choice of Continuous Glucose Monitoring devices can be seen in this issue (p.20): Sept 2017 CGM overview


Dexcom UK

Omnipod Europe

Medtronic UK

Medtronic’s ‘my pump choice’ hub:

Roche Accu-Chek Infusion

INPUT (see their pump comparison chart at the end of the page this links through to).

News items and features like this appear in the Desang Diabetes Magazine, our free-to-receive digital journal. We cover diabetes news, diabetes management equipment (diabetes ‘kit’ such as insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring equipment) and news about food suitable for a diabetic diet including a regular Making Carbs Count column. Go to the top of this page to sign up – we just need your email address.

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