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Posted: Mar 24, 2013
I just finished up my walk on my treadmill - watching this week’s episode of Glee (some great tunes in this "Guilty Pleasures" episode). It got my brain whirling on a subject I’ve been trying to figure out how to write since my “chance” meet up with Mr. Paul Flynn, Director of International Business Development at the CWD FFL in Toronto a few weeks ago.
I just happened to be checking out the PING, for curiosity sake, with one of the reps at the Animas booth. I started to talk about my issue with the 2020, and in my overly imaginative mind, he swooped in, to pull me aside from the booth, and proceeded to talk to me. No name tag like everyone else was wearing, but just a pleasant looking guy, who quickly said his name (I didn't catch it again until near the end of our conversation when I asked for his business card). I then started my polite rant that I’ve been blogging about, writing to Animas Corporation/Canada about since Dec 2012 at Diabetes1.org. Deep in my mind, I wished I wasn’t alone in this convo with him, as all that I write here is hearsay, no video, no recording of our conversation, just my own words.
In the beginning, Mr. Flynn appeared to not know my story, and I sensed something wasn't right with the way he was holding himself as he listened politey. Then slowly, the truth started to come out when I mentioned Caroline Pavis who is the Director of Global Communications in the USA. I'm not good with names sometimes, since I need a face to put to the name, and I stumbled abit with her name, and he corrected me. That was when things started to change in how I approached my questioning to him. I was determined to get to the root of some of the nagging answers I'd been given by Ms. Pavis over the last few months.
Take a deep breath, smile ......
He told me that my approaching Animas Canada/Germany/NZ branches would yield me the same answer that I have received all along from Animas Corporation. I am out of pump warranty zone, I will continue to be notified when the pump will stop functioning on such and such a date, so that I can purchase another pump from Animas Canada, end of story. It's like he had was a recorder - turn on button - tape will play sort of thing - and quoted me verbally line per line the same statement I've seen online / email / recall notices.
Take a deep breath, keep calm ....
I also inquired as to why the END DATE is not shown in any of the manuals that Animas pump holders are given. Do they not have the right to know that the product they are purchasing has an end date? If I'd known back in 2008, perhaps I would have gone with a pump that I knew would last longer. He did not say anything that either confirmed or denied that Johnson & Johnson (J&J) were in error for not informing their clients.
When I had asked him about Fraser Gray, who after reading my original blog back in December, decided to approach Animas Canada about his own pump (we both had same warranty end date) – and that he DID receive a PING pump in exchange for his 2020 - without any warranty mind you, why was he the exception? That when others like myself approach Animas Canada/Corporation, it’s been a flat refusal of no. Mr. Flynn played very cool, and said he was not aware of Fraser. Again, as we spoke, I reworded my questions again, and in actual fact “maybe” Mr. Flynn did acknowledge he knew of him in the end – but used the “must protect client confidentiality” line. The glazed look in his eyes made that pretty clear – I’d not get anything more out of him.
One thing that I did discover in my conversation with him –the Animas PING has an END DATE as well – that it can only hold so much data – like all previous pumps before – except that date is December 31, 2022 – so buyer BEWARE if you purchase a pump (2020) like I did in 2008 – it won’t last past more then 10 years if you are lucky when it's out of warranty.
Remember to breath, stay calm, focus like you're a cat ....
I then questioned him as to why this had not been corrected (a few pump companies I have approached in my research do NOT have any END DATE).
He could not answer that – aka – it’s not in his department - understandable – but it would have been nice to have maybe been told someone from Animas Canada would get back to me on explaining why. I do realise it costs to write up a program / change it / etc. – but at the expense of patients health? Why do other pump manufacturers I’ve talked to over the past few months not have the same issue with their pump software? That basically was the end of the conversation - no more could be said - until I could get home and start digging deeper.
Run to my friends table, break down, be petted and consoled ...
I once again went to my beau from high school, Harold Swaffield aka Swaff and a T1D who right from the start of my blogging about Animas pumps, has been by my side with technical advise. He can’t really say for sure why their pumps are like this (he finds it mind boggling too) – as he’d have to pull the pump apart to figure it out it's inner workings (guess where George Michael is going to when he stops working - sorry George) - but still we've been going over some possible reasons. Be warned, this bit that follows gets abit technical, so if you want to continue reading – maybe it’s something you should be aware of and question when considering purchasing a new pump - again - if this is the problem behind the pump shutting down completely on X date.
Swaff doesn’t understand what they are storing in the pump that needs to be constantly updated taking up space. My DH and I had thought that they are perhaps using an EEprom and not the Eprom (see definitions below) but the big difference is the PROGRAMMABLE part of the pump. Swaff has always used an MM pump that requires some things to be stored but all these devices do, except once the data is stored, it NEVER gets updated again, until he changes it, thus rewriting the EEPROM again. Swaff was saying that this is protection so that you don’t lose the data on a power off. The EEPROM stores the data so that when power is reapplied, it just starts to work!
The other part of the puzzle is we don’t KNOW what they are STORING on the device. The less cheaper way would be to have an internal SSD (solid state drive) or something similar to your standard USB key. In his words … “ Honestly... 32GB of USB is like $22.00 retail. Probably more like $.40 wholesale or less! ”
His guess, like mine and others, is that Animas are ensuring that we will NEED to purchase another device, which is, in his words (and my thoughts too) “ sucky really, sort of like a virtual end of life ". What really bugs both of us the most is that they continue to sell the devices up until the day before it expires. So, the individual, NEEDS to purchase the next revision of the device. I mean honestly, a medical device that costs the average user, $5000 - $7000 …. Gee let’s keep the company going! It probably costs these companies $300 to make them, add the R&D costs, and yes, you can add an additional $1000 or $2000?? (people, manufacturing time, etc.)
You wanted to know what some of the above means? Well, here's the definitions for you students today -
EEPROM (also written E2PROM and pronounced "e-e-prom," "double-e prom," "e-squared," or simply "e-prom") stands for ElectricallyErasable Programmable Read-Only Memory and is a type of non-volatile memory used in computers and other electronic devices to store small amounts of data that must be saved when power is removed, e.g., calibration tables or device configuration.
EPROM erasable programmable read only memory, is a type of memory chip that retains its data when its power supply is switched off. In other words, it is non-volatile. It is an array of floating-gate transistors individually programmed by an electronic device that supplies higher voltages than those normally used in digital circuits. Once programmed, an EPROM can be erased by exposing it to strong ultraviolet light source (such as from a mercury-vapor light). EPROMs are easily recognizable by the transparent fused quartz window in the top of the package, through which the silicon chip is visible, and which permits exposure to UV light during erasing.
Okay, are you still with me kids? Hello, tap, tap, tap to the
In my words, J&J are looking out for the shareholders … not we the consumer who wants to own a product (pump in our case) that hopefully will last for many years. The selling point of the Animas rep here in Montreal of J&J being such a family oriented place – is all crap IMHO. They are like the many other companies, out to make share holders happy in their yields. So what if their 250 subsidiary companies like Animas, Dupuy (hip replacement), Mentor (breast implants) – that people depend on?
As far as pumps go, Animas knows that most people in North America and other parts of the “civilized” world usually have private/work insurance coverage or it is covered by the country they live in. They know that most insurance companies will enable the pump users to have a NEW pump every 4-5 years. They do not think of the individual that is perhaps not fortunate enough to have that coverage, which they pay out of pocket, for a product they hope to have for many years. To admit that they have made a mistake in what I believe is false advertising of a product is shameful. I could not work for any firm that would pull the wool over the clients eyes – and sad to know that insurance companies are not aware of this (or maybe they are – they are all in on it together – it makes money!!!).
I know that there is a small percentage of Animas 2020 users out there – you may feel the same way as I do with being duped. Sadly, we are a small number compared to those that really don’t care, they have coverage, they will continue to have a new pump every 4-5 years - sigh. If they knew more about where their hard earned monies go – into health plans, etc. – maybe they would start questioning who they deal with.
Please note - this blog was originally posted on Saturday, March 23rd at my other blog website - called The Roller Coaster Ride of Diabetes. You will find additional comments to this blog (one is from Fraser Gray - the recipient of a PING pump despite his 2020 being out of warranty). Add your own there - or here if you wish!
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Tags: end date (1) software (1) pump (1) program (1) 2020 (1) Mentor (1) Johnson and Johnson (1) insulin (1) EPROM (1) EEPROM (1) Dupuy (1) diabetes (1) Animas (1)
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Posted: Mar 3, 2013
Well, so far, no reply from the big wigs at Animas Corporation / Animas Canada on my email that was sent in reply to their's over a week ago. I'm actually hesitating on calling Animas Canada, since they seem to have wiped their hands clean of me - but have promised some Animas users - that I will see this thru' to the very end. I've sort of lost faith in big corporations like Johnson & Johnson - but I'm trying my best to be patient - and see what the end result is with my pump - that was under warranty when they "discovered" the issue with the internal s/w date killing the pump (and now it appears to be in all their pumps pre-2020). Which still makes me wonder .... why it was never corrected in the 2020?
I've been back on dry land now for a few weeks since my holidays. I'm still doing the ol' MDI (multiple dosage injections). I'm actually not minding it. Yes, my tummy that takes all the NovoRapid shots during the day for meals and corrections to my blood glucose (BG) looks abit bruised. That's from the occasional blood vessel being poked with the pen needle - despite it's 32 gauge sleekness. My DH noticed my tummy the other day - and I said - get used to it - my bikini modelling days are over.
I'm actually not missing the pump at the moment - I can't believe I'm saying this in public. The pump is great for some occasions - e.g. where accessing areas of your body for a shot make things difficult or you have a change in activity that requires less basal insulin. Other than that - I'm getting used to it again. I'm trying not to be so OCD over the fact that my BG's are not as well balanced as they are with the pump, but with more BG testing and adjusting of basal and/or bolus insulins - I am getting the hang of it.
My god daughter who is coming with me to Toronto this w/e for the Children With Diabetes event (3 days of education / fun for kids & parents / etc.) - can't imagine putting her 13 year old onto shots. His diagnosis was at 6 (like myself) and I think he was put onto a pump right away. She said she'd have no idea what to do if he was on MDI. That is a bit scary - andI think if I was an endocronologist or educator (CDE) - I would have newly diagnosed patients hating my gutts - since I would insist that they at least learn how to control their diabetes by the old fashioned system of frequent injections. I'd be like Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo Nest .
I also am still looking into the Roche ACCU-CHEK Combo pump as a possible replacement to Animas. I'd heard thru' the grapevine that it DOES have an end date - that it only works for 7 years, but after I contacted the rep at Roche that I had met last summer - they told me in their older pumps, this was the case, but not with the pumps now sold (phew). The one great thing about the Roche pump is that it was $1K less and had a 5-year warranty. Good for those of us who are paying out of pocket for a pump. **UPDATE** - see comment below dated March 6th.
Again, until I have some sort of closure with Animas Corporation/Animas Canada it's sort of put me off of any pump manufacturer at the moment. So, for now, I'm standing on the edge, waiting in ancipation for an answer that is honest and not legally formatted with their reply (e.g. please write in easy to understant terms).
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Tags: FFL (1) Children With Diabetes (1) CWD (1) BG (1) MDI (1) software (1) warranty (1) Accu-Chek Combo (1) 2020 (1) Animas (1) insulin pump (1) Roche (1)
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Posted: Feb 23, 2013
Well, as I type this out, I have Careless Whisper from George Michael playing in the background. It's been almost 2 months now that I disconnected from him - my Animas 2020 pump - in preparation for my holidays I took - where I didn't want him compromised by more s/w issues that my past 2020 pumps have experienced when going thru' the security systems at the airports.
Before I'd left on my holidays, I had finally heard back from Animas Corporation in the USA on my issues that I've been calling them about / blogging about / talking to them since mid-December. I was told by Francis Crane who is Supervisor of Animas Customer Support (lovely lady from Georgia - but your sweet accent doesn't fool me ) I'd have an answer answer on January 28, 2013. I told her I'd be away at that time so she said she would call me when I got back. Of course, as soon as I got back home, I called Ms. Crane, left 2 voice messages over almost a week. When I heard back from her, she could not give me an answer <disappointment>, and that it had been given to someone by the name of Alecia now, in the technical department area, and I would have my answer no later then Friday (Feb 22/13).
That call has never occurred.
My question to Animas Canada - is why did they wipe their hands clean of me - and send me over to Animas Corporation in the USA? I purchased my pump here in Canada, not the USA. It also scares the heck out of me due to T1D's in the USA who have had their pumps "gone bad" replaced with a "reconditioned pump(s)". One such American said that within 3 months - they were given each time a reconditioned PING pump - in the end - they gave up on the pump all together due to continual technical problems and went back to MDI (multiple dosage injections).. Here in Canada, when I had called up about this a few years ago, apparently our laws differ from the USA. Canadians are given a new pump when they receive a replacement - phew. Though, I'm not sure if that is a good "phew" or a bad "phew".
I still to this day - as I posted in my other blogs/discussons on this situation with the Animas 2020 pump - firmly believe that Johnson and Johnson knew full well of the problem well before the issue was made public (when many of us were still under warranty). That with both registered letters that many of us received - that they are admitting culpability in the fact that they DID NOT post anything in their literature or training manuals even after discovering s/w originally developed had the built in "Self-Destruct" sequence of the date versus delivery of insulin.
I still scratch my head as to why, when the issue was known back in "March 2012", and I myself was still under warranty - why my replacement 2020 pump was not a PING - which supposably has no issues - would I be any further ahead with having had that pump I wonder?
The other question that is running around some of our heads these days is also .... how long is an insulin pump supposed to last? Many other pumps made by other pump manufacturers last 10+ years with no issues to the user with dispensing of their insulin coverage.
All I can say is .... SHAME on you big corporations that hold us in your grip - for us to use products that we trust our livelihood on .... Animas Canada / Corporation you know full well that you are in the WRONG.
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Tags: PING (1) 2020 (1) software (1) technology (1) date (1) delivery (1) warranty (1) George Michael (1) Johnson & Johnson (1) pump (1) insulin (1) Animas Canada (1) Animas Corporation (1)
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Posted: Jan 7, 2013
Well, I have to admit, the response back from Caroline Pavis who is the Communications Director at Animas Corporation took only 5 days - considering the holiday season - not bad! I personally do not think I am the only one questioning all the releases with not only the 2020 pump they manufacture, but their two previous pumps (IR1200 and IR1250) - but I appreciated her taking the time out to "personally" respond to my/our questions.
I am still wondering why the answer I was given back in December by Ann from Customer Relations that the s/w time out date was known since 2000 has changed to March 2012 as you'll read below in Q2 - has me a wee bit puzzled. Even more puzzling, is now it seems they are going back on their statement made online on their website that the IR1200 and IR1250 will also NOT function past 2015 - if you read the release - you'll be like me - scratching my head - as it states that these two pumps will STILL function - e.g. " continue to deliver insulin, if patients are using a data management software program with their pump, they will notice inaccuracies in the reports because of the incorrect dates". What is stated below in Q2 is the reverse of what is stated from this statement release by Animas. Do they know that some of us patients read VERY carefully about how are medical instruments are affected right to the "t"??
Now, I wonder, since Caroline states below - that they became aware of the s/w problem in March 2012 and my warranty ended in April (I received my replacement pump a few weeks before the end of March) - if they'd consider retroactively letting those of us that were still in "the zone for warranty coverage" have a pump that will function past 2015 - so we will have a "back up" pump for the future - like other pump users do with their retired pumps - wouldn't that be one less worry for those of us who find it difficult to control their diabetes with MDI (multiple dosage injections - e.g. average of 8-12 shots a day).
On closing, as one American pumper stated in an online discussion on the w/e involving this issue - and I'm quoting them the way I interpreted it (so if you're the one who posted this - clear up my confusion of what you said please) - " everyone should get a new pump every 2 years - to have the latest s/w technology - it's a no brainer ". The yell in my head that went off at that statement may have made the walls cave in of your home - sorry - this is my polite response - " Not all of us have insurance coverage that covers a new pump every 2 years - let alone a pump. Some of us pay out of pocket (our savings if we have them) to stay healthy. Our hope isto have a pump that lasts at least 4-6 years (more would be a dream) - which would make the cost of owning one about $2K/year - for some on limited income that is extremely difficult ".
Via Email - Thursday, January 3, 2013
My name is Caroline Pavis and I serve as the Communications Director for Animas Corporation. It is great to meet you over email. Thank you for all the amazing work you do providing information and education to people with diabetes!
I have read your blogs related to the software limitation we recently discovered with our Animas 2020 pump models. I want to make sure to provide answers to all the outstanding questions you have about this issue. Following is a list of questions (and our responses) which I hope will be helpful to you. Please let me know if you still have outstanding questions that I can help you with, after you review the Q&A below.
All the best,
Q1 - When and how was this software issue discovered?
Animas recently discovered this software limitation as a result of a separate investigation into the calendar designs of all our pump systems. This investigation was launched in March of 2012.
The pumps were not intended to be designed with this software limitation, or end of use date. The end date was a consequence of the memory limitations of our technology available at the time the platform was first created. Due to how the pump’s memory is allocated for storing dates, the memory capacity is limited to a 16-year range. The IR 1200, IR 1250 and Animas® 2020 pumps all began with a reference year of January 2000, which restricts this family of pumps to January 1, 2000 through December 31, 2015.
Q3 -Why didn’t you notify patients about this software limitation sooner?
Upon discovery of this issue in mid-2012, we launched an in-depth investigation designed to ensure it would not pose a health or safety risk to patients prior to the date of Dec. 31, 2015. Now that we have a full understanding of the issue, we are notifying patients and healthcare professionals.
Q4 - Did Animas design your pumps with this software limitation, or end-of-use date, so that patients were required to purchase a new pump after their warranty expired?
No. There was and is no plan to limit the date on the pump in order to require patients to purchase new pumps. The end date is solely related to memory limitations of our technology available at the time the platform was first created.
(To reiterate from question 2: Due to how the pump’s memory is allocated for storing dates, the memory capacity is limited to a 16-year range. The IR 1200, IR 1250 and Animas® 2020 pumps all began with a reference year of January 2000, which restricts this family of pumps to January 1, 2000 through December 31, 2015.)
Q5 - After midnight on Dec. 31, 2015, can I change the date on my Animas® 2020 pump to a previous year, so that it will continue to function?
No. After midnight on Dec. 31, 2015, the Animas® 2020 pump will no longer function, meaning the pump will no longer deliver insulin. Changing the pump’s date to a previous year will not serve as a “fix” for this issue. The issue/end date for the pump is a consequence of the memory limitations of our technology available at the time the platform for the Animas® 2020 insulin pump was first created.
Q6 - What will Animas offer to Animas ® 2020 pumpers who are out-of-warranty?
We are committed to providing assistance to our patients whose warranties will expire prior to Dec. 31, 2015. Between now and the end of 2015, we will be proactively reaching out to all our out-of-warranty Animas® 2020, Animas® IR1250 and Animas® IR1200 patients to remind them of the end of use date.
Q7 - Will Animas continue to honor your warranty commitments to patients who are currently using Animas® 2020, IR1250 and IR1200 pumps?
Animas will always honor any and all warranty replacements of our insulin pumps, and is committed to honoring our replacement warranty plans for all our Animas® 2020 users. Prior to the end of 2015, we will provide in-warranty patients with a free replacement pump of a newer model to ensure their care with pump therapy is not interrupted.
Q8 - Is the Animas® 2020 being phased out?
Animas recently discontinued the Animas® 2020 insulin pump in the United States and Canada in favor of newer technology. We will therefore be providing patients in need of replacement pumps with a OneTouch® Ping® Glucose Management System, which includes an insulin pump and a glucose meter that can also act as a remote controller of the pump. The OneTouch® Ping® insulin pump has very similar features to the Animas® 2020 insulin pump.
Caroline Pavis| Director, Global Communications
Office: 610.240.8128 | Cell: 610.357.3121 | Fax: 484.568.1444 | [email protected]
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Tags: software (2) technology (1) limitations (1) capacity (1) memory (1) IR1250 (1) pump (1) Ping (1) 2015 (1) warranty (1) IR2020 (1) IR1200 (1) 2020 (1) Animas (1) replacement (1)
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Posted: Dec 19, 2012
Okay – I maybe wording the title incorrectly – but this is my take on a copy of a letter from Animas Corporation. In a nutshell, as of January 1, 2016 my current pump aka George Michael (GM) will no longer function.
GM – who I acquired back in February 2012 – is no longer under warranty – that finished up in April 2012 – so he’s screwed for being replaced with one that will function past that date according to the letter. That’s despite him being a spanking brand new pump (manufactured in September 2011) – he has no protection – except I was told if I had technical issues I’m still permitted to call up for help. I am though forever an optimist thinking/hoping that he will last longer than the 2 years I seem to get out of the previous Animas pumps (Antonio Banderas and Salvador Dali) that I’ve had over the 4 years since I switched over from MDI (multiple dosage injections aka poor mans pump). Forking out $8K+ every 4 years (or get a loan at who knows what interest rate) – is not something I am looking forward. That’s a lot of cash to spend on a medical device that you hope lasts for awhile – but in the letter today – the software as of the Jan 1st date will no longer allow the pump to work. So, my dreams of writing a blog about how long my pump has served me with similar stories of pump users having their pump still working for close to 10 years – is in my eyes – a pipe dream.
In the letter, dated December 17, 2012 – it states – “ We want to inform you that the software included in the Animas 2020 insulin pump only operates until midnight on Dec 31, 2015. After this date, the pump will no longer deliver insulin and will generate a Call Service Alarm”. They go on to state that “this end of use date is not currently included in our product labelling.”
Hmm, wonder why they left that out for users like myself when we are looking at purchasing a life saving device that some of us have had to pay out of pocket for? Would I (we) have questioned owning a pump whose software stops functioning on such and such a date? I know I would, and now am pondering if I should just forgo pumping after George Michael bites the dust, or consider going with a pump manufacturer that will guarantee that my pump software will remain working beyond the warranty time frame. I have been shopping around to find another pump manufacturer that is available here in Canada – and have found one – but for now – I am holding my breath until I really have to consider replacing GM.
One thing my DH who works for an aircraft manufacturer, was saying that software on avionic boxes (e.g. transponder, air data computers, cabin software) gets updated regularly. If these weren’t updated, technically you cannot fly the aircraft without some of those updates – aka “unserviceable”. Why cannot the 2020 pump software be updated so that it works past this date of “expiry” stated in the letter? This is a question I am going to be putting to Animas Canada – to see if they can give me a legit question.
Come on GM - please live to at least December 31, 2015 - don't be like your former brothers in arms !!!
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Tags: Antonio Banderas (1) Salvador Dali (1) software (1) warranty (1) George Michael (1) 2020 (1) pump (1) Animas (1)
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