Insulet, Tandem, and Dexcom expand welcome programs for Animas users – October 24, 2017

Insulet, Tandem, and Dexcom have stepped up their welcome program offers for Animas customers following J&J’s October 5 announcement to exit the pump market. In a move to compete with Animas’ “partner-of-choice,” Medtronic, the three companies have more enticing upgrade programs for those wondering, “What pump do I switch to now?” Insulet announced last week that it is still offering a free transition to the Omnipod and a free box of 10 pods, but now, it has partnered with Dexcom to offer a $200 cash gift card (from Dexcom) for those completing a “patient survey” and upgrading to G5 (i.e., new to CGM or currently on G4). Not missing a beat, Tandem announced today that new users can also get the same Dexcom cash gift card, along with a very generous promise for “free” software upgrades from the t:slim X2 to any new products the FDA approves in 2018 – i.e., the Predictive Low Glucose Suspend (PLGS) device, which is in its pivotal study and expected to launch in summer 2018. Tandem has also extended its welcome program to Animas users with ~2 years left on their pump warranties, doubling the previous 12 months; these users can get on a t:slim X2 for a fully refundable deposit of $999 (i.e., a free upgrade, assuming they stay on t:slim X2). There are nuances between the programs, especially the end dates: Tandem’s program extends to March 31, 2018, while Insulet’s program expires on December 31, 2017 (Dexcom G5 piece) and January 31, 2018 (Omnipod piece). 

Notably, both companies’ press releases quote Dexcom leadership – EVP Steve Pacelli in Tandem’s press release, CCO Rick Doubleday in Insulet’s press release – reinforcing the strength of these partnerships. We are very happy to see these more generous programs, which offer Animas users more choice and lower costs after J&J  chose Medtronic only and did not even put together a contract that showed all the options for patients. From our view, had Medtronic itself not been going through extensive supply problems, and had Medtronic agreed to upgrade Animas users free to the 670G, that would be far more patient-friendly and in the spirit of J&J's credo. There is a blog from The diaTribe Foundation asking J&J to reconsider giving choice to its Animas pumpers and working to arrange for 670G pumps for patients moving to Medtronic not just 630G, which would be the choice of very few (if any) actual patients. Especially since so many Animas pumpers use and love Dexcom and aren't being offered Medtronic's new sensor (until those on the priority access list have received the device, unless this changes), we think it's particularly important for patients to hear about all the options. 

These three programs reflect the highly competitive pump field, with all companies racing to AID and compete with the still-not-broadly-launched MiniMed 670G/Guardian Sensor 3. It’s going to be a very interesting 2H17, starting with Tandem’s 3Q17 call on Thursday, followed by Dexcom and Insulet next week. 

  • Just today, Adam received a call from a worried patient who wasn’t sure what pump to switch to. Notably, this gentleman was willing to pay ~$8,000 out of pocket to get on the MiniMed 670G hybrid closed loop, as he said it wasn’t covered by his insurance. (We’re not sure if he’s on Anthem, Medicare, or another insurance.) Adam noted the different options, company pipelines, and pros/cons of the MiniMed 670G. Ultimately, the patient seemed interested in going DIY with the Loop system, a sign of how different the field has become. Adam informed him of various options and also noted Loop opportunities and risks (he also assured him that he was happy to give his perspective and that he is not an HCP). 
  • Particularly with JDRF’s compelling open protocol initiative, and even without it, automated insulin delivery will almost certainly look incredibly different five years from now. Who will innovate the fastest? Who will best harness the DIY community? Who will successfully change the pump/CGM business model? How much less "hand-holding" will be needed once insulin delivery is automated for many more? Who will see the most success with payers? With HCPs? With patients?How many pump and CGM companies can the market support? Will automated insulin delivery be the "killer app" the field has been waiting for?


-- by Adam Brown and Kelly Close