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September 26, 2007

Insulin Pumps

Question from Rockford, Illinois, USA:

My son's been pumping for almost four years. We have always used the Cozmo pump. Both my son and I have been very happy with Smiths Medical. The pump is easy to use, recently updated software, excellent clinical support and customer service. However, in the past 12 months we've had to replace three pumps, all for different reasons and, to the best of my knowledge, through no fault of ours. Because our warranty expires in the upcoming months, I am quite concerned. Another breakdown and I'm forced to purchase a new pump, for which I'm responsible for 20%. The money is not really the issue. I'm more concerned about the quality control of their product. I've spoken with the company about my concerns. Have any of your patients had continued bad luck in recent months with this product? Do you know of any "consumer report" type rating of insulin pumps? If I do need to purchase a new pump, I would love to see this type of data.


I’ve had problems like this in the past with more than one brand of pump. Sometimes they replace your pump with a refurbished pump. I suggest you make sure they didn’t give you a refurbished pump and if they did, to request a brand new one. It helps if you doctor is able to state in writing that your child’s control was seriously compromised several times if, indeed it were.

Additional comments from Dr. David Schwartz:

I had this conversation with my local Cozmo representative because we’ve had patients experience several pump replacements lately. One family had so many that they were going to ditch it, so Cozmo sent them a NEW pump, rather than a refurbished one. That is important: when you get a replacement pump because of a pump problem or failure, you are probably NOT getting a NEW pump, but a refurbished one.

I have only had this experience in the past year or so. Prior to that, it was rare that I had complaints about the Cozmo. Maybe more complaints come when more people use the pump compared to the other companies.

Additional comments from Dr. Jim Lane:

I have seen this will all makes of pumps. I have not seen a problem with the manufacturers standing by their pumps during warranty. Since most of the pumps you are probably receiving are previously owned and refurbished, it is not surprising they fail for a variety of reasons. Many of the pumps endure pretty harsh treatment. To my knowledge, I have not seen a “consumer report” on insulin pumps. What I do see are comparisons of features on pumps in some of the diabetes care periodicals. I use multiple brands of insulin pumps in my practice without much difference in results. Some of the pump companies that have patented products can offer special features.