Blog Entries With Tag: Novo Nordisk

Posted: Apr 20, 2013
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. 
Asante Snap promotion picture

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!

Original Snap, Crackle, Pop dudes 

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Tags: Humalog (1) disposable (1) insulin pump (1) Pearl (1) Snap (1) Asante (1) NovoNordisk (1) Mike Hoskins (1) Diabetes Mine (1) plastic (1) glass (1) Lily (1)
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Posted: Jan 25, 2013

First of all, I’d like to thank the staff at the Costco pharmacy in Pointe Claire for managing to obtain the ½ unit dosing BD syringes which sometimes can be VERY difficult to obtain according to some of my D-mates who use them.  Secondly, my endocrinologist, Dr. Skamene, who I sometimes don’t always paint in a great picture, but as a specialist, and the amount of patients he has and ill secretary (please Linda – beat that cancer!!!) – he came through for me.

A few weeks ago, I started to get my goodies ready for my travel bag.  I’m going sailing for almost 3 weeks – with a few friends (aren’t we cute in the picture below?) – but I started to hit a few road blocks as I began to inquire about some items I would need.

The first was to replace my NovoPen Junior – that delivers ½ unit increments of insulin.  It’s a pen delivery system that is designed initially for children – who dose with small amounts of insulin.  Well, the one I had was going on 7 years – and due to my recently obtaining a new pen for delivery of my Lantus – I decided I should replace the NovoPen.   Note – that the Lantus ClikSTAR pen is recommended to be replaced every 2 years.

Easier said than done,  after going to almost ½ dozen pharmacies (yes – I have lots of time to waste NOT) – I discovered that they can’t supply that pen -  let alone – have never heard of it (are all kids in Quebec using a pump now???).    I then came home, and started to investigate, to find out the NovoPen Junior has been replaced by a pen with memory in it for your dosage – it goes by the name of NovoPen Echo.  Okay – I like that with my old fart brain forgetting when I injected/how much if I don’t write the details in my log book.  So, I want one …. NOW!!!

I’m then told that Novo Nordisk cannot send me one, let alone connect me up with the service rep for my area of Quebec.  It had to all be done either thru’ a Diabetes Education Centre (DEC) or doctor.  I’ve never been to DEC in Quebec – last time I was in one was over 30+ years ago In Ontario – so I scratched that one out.  Next it was make a call to my endo, I explained the situation, and viola, I landed an appointment for 5 days later – hopefully giving us time to get the pen needle delivered in time for me to flap my wings to destinations further south  with all my favourite tools that make my diabetes control happy.

The crazy thing is, what a waste of time, seeing my endo when I dropped in (I’d only seen him the month prior for my 6 month check up).   Having him make the call to Novo Nordisk, request the item (the funny part was when he asked me “what colour do you want – blue or red?” – and I squealed like a kid “Is it candy apple red?” – his face if I could have taken a picture of it – PRICELESS – he didn’t give a rats ass about the colour – so I quickly said “Red please!!!”.  So, promise of said pen – aka Echo – would be delivered in time for me to take it with me for my holidays.

Few days later, only one more day before I depart, I call the office.  Line is busy, busy, busy.  I send a FAX to find out – has the eagle landed?  No reply after a few hours – still trying to get thru’ on LAN line.  I then send a copy Novo Nordisk with the hopes they can tell me if it was delivered to the office – but have to record a voice message.  Ohhhh, if only I had the service reps phone number – I could avoid all of this aggravation!!!!

So, I take the bull by the horns – with no answer from endo or Novo Nordisk –head out to the his office about 20 minutes drive away.  Endo’s office – it’s a zoo – busy as usual – and new secretary trying to cope as best as she can.  He happens to be picking up his next patient - looks at me – it’s never arrived – he’s as frustrated as I am.  He says to go to Lake Shore Hospital – across the street – and seek out the Diabetic Clinic and see if they carry them.  I’m even contemplating going to the Children’s Hospital – but my time and patience is beginning to wear out.

This Lakeshore is a cesspool of germs – I personally hate hospitals – and recently this one has been having issues with gastroenteritis–  telling people to not come to ER due to over crowding.  Today, It’s my lucky day, no one seems to be banning people from coming in.  I take a deep breath outside (-30C) – and pray that I won’t come down with anything – again – I HATE HOSPITALS!!!

I manage to locate the clinic – this hospital is massively disorganised due to constant renovations to keep up with mainly the again population that is clogging up our hospitals sad to say.  I luck in at seeing  Kathryn Arcudi, who works in the DEC.  I’m not sure if she recognised me (I had a goofy hat on) – but she took a few minutes from her client at the moment to tell me what I had not hoped to hear …. “We don’t use those pen”.   No words can describe my sorrow at this point.  I trudge back thru’ the mass like hospital – in a daze – and proceed to go to Costco – where they at least have been able to get my ½ cc syringes that I had a prescription for a few days ago – they will have to do.

Getting back home, I find a message from Niki at Novo Nordisk – telling me that the pens (2) had been delivered the day prior – but my endo’s office was closed – so they were left in the “office next door”.  It’s like – SCREAM!!!!  She is like me – after I call her back – unable to get thru’ on my endo’s LAN line all day long – and having to resort to sending a FAX-  with no reply .  I plead with her, can the rep not send me the pen to my house – but it can’t be done - period.  So, between the both of us – we again send our own individual faxes to my endos office of the situation – with the hope that SOMEONE will see our fax – and respond to one of us.

Two hours later – ring, ring, ring, ring … it’s my endo’s office calling – he has the pen – and says he’ll stay in office for 15 extra minutes – so I can come pick it up  (it’s now rush hour – Montreal has the worst in the world).  Incase I don’t make it in time, he’ll leave the pen at the Pharmacy for me to pick up.  Luckily, that doesn’t happen – we get there 20 minutes late going the back route saves us some time – he is still in his office – waiting for me – and I’m one happy camper – yes I am.  I almost hug and kiss him – but hold off.  I’ll repay him another time – since he went over and beyond what I would expect a busy specialist to do.  I am blessed!

My question to Novo Nordisk is – why go thru’ this ordeal with obtaining the Echo pen?  Why can the doctor NOT give a prescription for it – and allow the patient to PICK IT UP from their chosen PHARMACY?  To waste the precious time of a busy specialist is beyond my comprehension.  I do realise that perhaps some people would need training on how to use the pen, but really, it’s not that difficult to figure out with the well written manual (and mini version – which I’ll be taking with me).

Oh and by the way, I had asked Stephanie at Novo Nordisk about the expiration date of the NovoPen  Echo – she couldn’t tell me – let her know – it’s written on the box of the pen – mine expires in 2017 …. I’ll be back to get a new one then … hopefully with less problems then I had with obtaining this one!  I can't survive without my juice of life!!!

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Tags: Pharmacy (1) NovoPen Echo (1) Novo Nordisk (1) insulin (1) NovoRapid (1) Lantus (1) ClikSTAR (1) BD Syringe (1)
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Posted: May 29, 2010


Novopen Junior

I use Novo Nordisk insulin for the control of my diabetes (NovoRapid here in Canada).  I just read online that the  Danish company is objecting to Greece's decision to decree ordering a 25% price cut in all medicines.

Because of this price cut - Novo Nordisk would run at a loss for supplying their product to diabetics who NEED their insulin products to maintain life! To top it all off, the company feels that if Greece can do this, then other countries will follow suite.  OMG, I am just overwhelmed with emotions with knowing that in order to survive we diabetics are at the mercy of the pharmaceutical companies (note to self - stop looking through rose-coloured glasses - wake up and smell the .... $$$ MONEY $$$).

More than 50,000 Greeks with diabetes use Novo Nordisk's product, which is injected via an easy-to-use fountain pen-like device.  I love this device, as I'm sure many of you feel the same way.  To use regular needles is a pain in the bleep bleep bleep.

To read more about this story - which I felt deserved to be posted on my blog page - go to this link (or if you prefer - cut/paste the following link into a new browser window - )

Oh, and to add more fuel to the fire - Novo Nordisk will compensate by making available  glucagen (used to treat low blood sugars in emergency situations only) free of charge.  I think with the removal of their insulin products, that diabetics maybe having the reverse - high blood sugars!

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Posted: Oct 29, 2009

Well, I'm finally getting my life back to order.  Don't think Mike, my husband appreciated my being away at the IDF Diabetes World Congress for 5 days (I averaged 12 hour days there), as my Domestic Engineering duties sort of went the way of the dodo bird.  I am back on track, almost, just don't pay me a surprise visit right now, as it still looks like a bomb went off in my house (I need a housekeeper as one of my friends says - treat yourself).

So, below you will find a rather amusing picture of me.  It was a way to let off some steam I think for all the delegates that were there, as attending seminars, learning new ideas of coping with diabetes can sometimes make for a tired brain.  It was fun seeing people from all over the world, putting on the RCMP uniform and standing with the Canadian Rockies behind them!  Of course, I had to do something different didn't I? Being the animal lover, I had to go and pet the moose.  He was very bristly, incase you are wondering! The staff had no problem the next day remembering my picture, no number required - just had to tell them - "I'm the moose lover!"

Novo Nordisk FatCatAnna

I went to the Novo Nordisk booth because I was interested in learning about Victoza, which Type 2 diabetics can inject once a day.  They can either use it alone, or combine it with their Metformin or sulphonylurea treatment.  The big thing with this insulin that they are thumping their chests about is that it helps patients gain better blood glucose control WITHOUT the weight gain, which often happens when going on insulin therapy.  According to one of the documents I have on hand, visceral fat (this is fat that surrounds our internal organs) was reduced by 13% to 16% in patients treated with Victoza + Metformin.  I know for a few diabetics diagnosed with Type 2, weight can be an issue, and of course, the sooner we shed it, eat sensible and exercise, the better our diabetes is controlled!

So in a nutshell it'll be able to do the following -

  • Reductions in A1C of up to 2.74%
  • Reductions in weight by up to 2.8 kg
  • Reduction in blood pressure readings
  • Improvement is beta-cell function (makes me wonder with time, if you start early enough - you might reverse diabetes as your pancreas start to produce insulin).

Not sure when it will be coming to the market in North America as all the information I am finding  is based in Europe - therefore I'm unable to post the Novo Nordisk link for you to check it out for yourself unless you register there yourself.  I've done abit of research on Victoza and there seems to be some problems with bringing it to the market due to labeling of the product believe it or not in the United States!  We'll just have to wait and see and be patient with FDA, but the forecast is for sometime in 2010. 

Also, if there are any of my friends from abroad reading my scribbles, and you've got some insight into Victoza, please feel free to share with us!

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