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Animas Shuts Down its Pump Line

Johnson & Johnson fails type 1 diabetics.

I saw this article about Animas on the Insulinnation.com website.  Johnson & Johnson, a broadly based manufacturer of health care products, purchased the Animas corporation in 2006.  It looks like the insulin pump market was not profitable enough for J&J and they decided to sell Animas.  Unfortunately they have been unable to find a buyer.  Now they have decided to just sell their insulin pump customer list to Medtronic and discontinue manufacturing insulin pumps.

Big business is not always better.

I’m sure in 2006, J&J saw Animas as a perfect fit for their business model.  J&J is a huge corporation with loads of money that can be used to buy smaller companies.  Large corporations believe they create “economies of scale” that make better use of resources and lower costs.  They buy a smaller company and replace much of their overhead with services from the larger corporation.  The result is a more profitable company.  This works well when the smaller company has a mature product line.  Problems occur when the product lines involve new technologies that require constant updates and revisions.

Should type 1 diabetics be concerned?

In a word, YES.  J&J is helping Medtronic dominate the insulin pump market.  You cannot get better products and lower costs when only one or two companies provide the products.  This is especially true when it comes to a medical device like an insulin pump.  This summer, I started looking for a replacement insulin pump.  My Medtronic paradigm 722 insulin pump was having problems after 7 years of continuous use.  I was not completely satisfied with Medtronic and decided to look at other vendors.  I contacted Animas and received all their product information.  They told me their parent company was J&J but never said anything about J&J trying to sell Animas.  Fortunately I didn’t buy an Animas pump and will have to go with another Medtronic.

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