Amazing but true …OmniPod users continue to wait

Amazing but true …OmniPod users continue to wait

It’s somewhat ironic on a day when the FDA approves a brand new meter, the iBGStar, that we have yet to hear anything other than silence from Abbott (NYSE:ABT) or Insulet (NASDAQ:PODD) on when, or perhaps we should be saying if, the FDA will ever approve the new FreeStyle test strips for use with the OmniPod.  Although Diabetic Investor has been assured by several sources that the new strip works perfectly fine with the OmniPod, not all OmniPod users have the access to the same information we do, a situation which is wreaking havoc within the OmniPod community.

As Diabetic Investor anticipated this lack of information is not only hurting OmniPod users but is seriously damaging Insulet’s already damaged reputation. With nothing to go OmniPod users have gone to the internet with their concerns, conspiracy theories and various explanations as to just why what looks like a simple process isn’t getting done. It’s important to note that while social media may not be the answer to diabetes management it is fertile territory for insulin pump patients who are the most vocal and extraordinarily active when it comes to expressing their displeasure using social media.

For those who believe Diabetic Investor is overly harsh on the many companies in the industry, we’re a pussy cat when compared to unhappy insulin pump patients. Reading through the various blogs and diabetes related social communities we can firmly state that OmniPod users are well beyond unhappy and are getting more ticked off by the day. Just as we thought the supply of “old” FreeStyle strips is dwindling and several insurers will not reimburse patients for the “new” strip as it is not approved for use with the OmniPod. This has led many OmniPod users on a frantic quest to find “old” FreeStyle strips with two typical results, when a user is lucky enough to find the “old” strips this supplier does not accept the users insurance therefore making them pay the ENTIRE cost out of pocket or frustrated being unable to find “old” strips switch to another meter.

Several users have decided to take a walk on the wild side, throwing caution to the wind and are using the “new” strips. These brave souls, who are very concerned that there this something wrong with the “new” strip which causes inaccurate readings, are in a panic state. Diabetic Investor has read several posts where these risk-takers have compared the results from the new strip used with the OmniPod to results when they use these same strips with a stand-alone FreeStyle meter or use another meter system. Now Diabetic Investor does not want to spend too much time on this subject but it is a well-known fact the results can vary widely between systems or even with the same vial of test strips.

This has led some of these brave souls to an almost schizophrenic state as they just aren’t sure what to believe, when in reality they have no reason to worry other than the fact Insulet can’t seem to tie their shoes and chew gum at the same time.

Frankly Diabetic Investor is not surprised by the lack of information from Insulet, nor are we surprised that Abbott isn’t helping them deal with a situation that Insulet created. As we have noted previously the relationship between Insulet and Abbott has gone beyond strained and is quickly approaching the breaking point. The honest truth is Abbott knowing that Insulet has been shopping for a new meter to be placed in the new PDM which will be used with the also not-approved new Eros pod, does not like being told to bend over and take it.

Given that Insulet is having such a hard time getting the “new” strip approved for use it does make one wonder whether or not we will ever see the new Eros pod which the company has bet the ranch on. It’s also worth wondering even if they do by some miracle get both the “new” strip and the Eros pod approved before hell freezes over, whether there will be any customers still interested in using the OmniPod. Wireless or not, the one thing insulin pump patients want more than anything is reliability and solid customer service and looked at honestly Insulet has failed miserably on both fronts.

Based on their continued silence and apparent inability to acknowledge what’s going on before their very eyes, Diabetic Investor can only speculate as when this situation fully implodes. Given that the company’s Board of Directors seems to follow the see no evil, hear no evil oversight philosophy we are not optimistic that the change which is desperately needed will be made.  As bad as things have become there is still time to turn things around but the clock is ticking and time is running out.