Johnson & Johnson had started the year by considering ‘strategic options’ for three specific diabetes device businesses. And now, it appears that Animas is first on the list of being let go. This insulin pump unit will immediately halt any manufacturing or selling of its products.
The final decision was after an extensive exploration of all other possible options for this business. This comes from Animas itself. Such ‘possible options’ included, among others, a sale, a joint venture, or an operating partnership. This was the announcement of J&J back in January.
Animas will still continue to sell its pumps outside of Canada or the United States. Animas is offering patients who are using its OneTouch Ping or Vibe pumps the choice to switch to a Medtronic pump. Healthline that will support patients during their period of transition.
And yet, the diabetes non-profit JDRF has shown concern regarding this particular matter. This is especially when it comes to customer choice and competition.
The reason why JDRF is so worried at hearing that Animas Corporation will be ending their insulin pump sales is that this will mean fewer treatment options for those with type 1 the condition. After all, choosing one’s pump is of critical importance.
Those with type 1 need to be able to select their own devices, which they feel work best for them. Furthermore, JDRF has stated that competition and innovation are crucial for the development of any ‘next generation therapies’.
And what about any other units which are ‘next on the chopping block? Well, there’s Calibra Medical, the one which developed a mealtime insulin patch. Then there’s also LifeScan, which markets blood sugar monitors for customer and hospital use.
The truth of the matter is that J&J’s business concerning devices for the condition had a serious crash back in 2016. To give people a general idea, sales in the fourth quarter had dropped 3,8% from the same period of the previous year.
As for full-year sales, they dropped about 7,2%, or, in other words, from 1,9 billion to 1,8 billion dollars. And back in October of 2016, Animas unveiled cybersecurity errors in its OneTouch Ping pump (which is wirelessly controlled).
Namely, hackers could exploit this to deliver unauthorized insulin doses to patients using this product. As frightening as such an attack may sound (one which could result in hypoglycemia or insulin overdose), the company claimed that the chances of such an attack were very low.
Thus, they encouraged patients to use the device to keep on using it. Having said that, it is still advisable, particularly for concerned patients, to disable the device’s wireless features and manually enter their blood glucose levels instead.