Asante Closes, Shutters Snap Pump Production

Snap pump users were left scrambling for answers with a late Friday announcement of Asante’s demise.



shutterstock_158418200_Closed-sign_300pxThe sudden demise of the pump maker Asante caught everyone, even those in the news business, off-guard.

Insulin Nation learned of Asante’s closure in the same way we imagine many of its customers did: in an e-mail message originating from Asante’s California headquarters at about 3:30PM Pacific Standard Time on a Friday.

In the news business, late Friday afternoon is the perfect time to hide news in plain sight, as some reporters, and many readers, are already off for the weekend. However, it’s a difficult time for an Asante Snap pump user to make arrangements to transition to another pump with a medical provider.

When I learned this news, I was in the process of finishing an article about the Snap. Asante had recently redoubled its marketing effort with an audacious free trial program for the pump, and had planned to provide custom appearance options for pumps. To prep for this story, I had only recently interviewed two of Asante’s marketing officers and an enthusiastic customer, and traded messages with equally enthusiastic diabetes writer Scott Johnson, who’d become a spokesman for the Snap.

(Disclosure – Former Insulin Nation publisher Andy Holder recently took a sales position with Asante.)

The same message received in my inbox came up on the Asante Snap site:

We regret to inform you that as of Friday, May 15, 2015, Asante Solutions, maker of the Snap Insulin Pump, will be closing our doors and the company will no longer be in business. If you are a Snap user, please contact your healthcare provider with any clinical questions you have. For questions about your pump supplies, please contact the distributor that has been shipping your supplies.

“If you are interested in transitioning to a new pump, we suggest you call Animas to learn more about the new Animas Vibe, which is integrated with Dexcom CGM. Animas is graciously offering a limited time offer to all existing Snap users to transition to the Animas Vibe pump. If you are interested in learning more, simply call 1-877-937-7867 x1562 or visit their website.

We sincerely regret this situation.

An e-mail message to an Asante spokesperson on Saturday and a phone call on Sunday to Asante’s headquarters went unanswered. A call to Animas did get through to a technical representative on weekend duty for Animas customers needing assistance. The Animas rep took my number and offered a call back on Monday from someone more familiar with the Animas Vibe replacement offer.

Now it’s Monday, and the pump market has lost a major player. Reporters, like pump users, now must begin the process of searching for answers.

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Jim Cahill is a senior writer for Insulin Nation and Type 2 Nation. Before turning to writing, he was a lawyer in government and private practice who focused on consumer protection and regulatory law. He can be contacted at jcahill@epscomm.com.