Back in 2011 - I had written in the forums about Asante and their new insulin pump called the Pearl. A German mate of mine - who I was visiting at the time in Spain - said it was being marketed in her country - of course - I went to check it out - and since then - had never thought of it again until recently - when Asante started to relaunch the pump under a new name of SNAP! Of course, like Michael Hoskins at DiabetesMine - we both thought of a certain cereal ad (do all diabetics think alike???).
The Asante Snap is slowly hoping to become the next kid in town as far as an affordable and easy pump for a diabetic controlling their life with insulin. Of course, this pump is only available currently to the USA in certain regions of the north east sectors of their country (testing sectors), but they are promising that it will be available all over the USA during this year as well as to more countries over time.
They are currently marketing this pump at being in the price range of $700 USD with a promise that if something happens to the pump that for a minimal fee even when out of the 4-year warranty it will be replaced with latest s/w upgrades. To me, this is a winner, with the problems I've had with my Animas 2020 since December. The comparison chart that they show at this link shows the advantages of using their pump. It basically has all the bells and whistles that I have used in the two pumps I've tried over the 5 years (Animas and Medtronic) but one new thing that FDA recently approved for this pump is the "Drop Detector Alarm" which no other pump manufacturer has.
What I like from the picture and description is Asante has taken into consideration the screen size on the pump itself. They claim it is supposed to be the largest print of all insulin pumps out on the market which is good for some of us aging diabetics. Along with that is the size of the pump and its weight.
The one nifty feature of this pump is that it uses a 300 mL insulin glass cartridge. You don't have to bother with filling up a plastic cartridge every 3 days when doing an infusion change which they market as saving the user time. The only drawback for me is that you have to use this cartridge within 7 days and if there is any insulin left in the vial it gets discarded! For diabetics who go thru' 300 units of insulin a day they'd be having to use a new cartridge each day - ouch! Unless they can reload up a new cartridge, since it is supposed to work "7 days until or until cartridge is empty". That bit is abit vague in their advertising on their website.
My other question and I can't find the answer to it anywhere. What is the cost of the disposable cartridge section of the pump itself? Currently, I pay on average $7 CDN for an insulin cartridge which yes is NOT supposed to be refilled but many diabetics do reuse their cartridges a few times over. Now, Asante of course states that insulin in the glass vial doesn't disintegrate as much as in plastic but still it's that question of how much a month will I be shelling out for the replacement portion of their pump? In the end, could this cost as much as a regular pump over X amount of years? Again, I'm aiming at folks who don't have coverage via insurance to afford to pump so for others who don't have this worry it's not a problem for them.
Another problem I see (and Asante does as well), only Lily Humalog cartridges are for use in the Snap. For some diabetics they find this fast insulin doesn't work as well as other insulin that are available (or in the case of Americans with insurance this is one of the more expensive insulins in their country). Therefore, Asante is in negotiations with NovoNordisk ? which for myself would be great since I use that brand of insulin which thru' the grapevine aka forums - seems to be the less expensive rapid insulin available to Americans.
I took the time to look over the manual for this blog (very easy to understand ? and most of you know I'm not big on manual reading). One thing I noticed that I've never seen in my Animas 2020 manual is "Air Travel in a pressurized cabin". Asante says to disconnect the infusion set from your body during takeoff and landing, and I quote from page 5 of their manual ... " As with any insulin pump, during takeoff the pressure change in the cabin will cause any air bubbles in the cartridge and infusion set to expand. If you fail to disconnect, the expanding bubbles will push insulin into your body and lead to potential over delivery. By disconnecting the infusion set before takeoff and keeping it disconnected until after the plane reaches cruising altitude, you can avoid any inadvertent delivery caused by the change in air pressure ". I found that a very interesting statement to be made - and realise the reason for it - with abililty of air bubbles to form in the vial and/or tubing - but never thought about this before - and am sure others reading this didn't either.
Anyway, it'll be interesting to see how Asante fairs in this - they seem to be more for the user rather than the share holder - which in my case with the Animas pump fiasco is the opposite - so I'd be willing to give the Snap a month trial run when it becomes available in my part of the big blue marble. As more details come out - I'll keep you posted - and if you find out something before I do - post it here and share!