Medtronic announced in a press release that its 670G insulin pump system is officially hitting the U.S. market. The FDA approved the system for people with Type 1 diabetes ages 14 and older in September 2016.
The 670G is the first hybrid, closed-loop insulin pump system for sale in the U.S. The pump can automatically adjust basal insulin delivery based on glucose readings, but users will still need to manually bolus with the device. The 670G has been called an artificial pancreas, including at times by this publication, but Medtronic is careful not to use the term in its publicity material. As Medtronic stated in its press release, researchers found in a pivotal clinical trial that use of the 670G helped users have less variability in glycemic levels, more time in a good glycemic target range, reduced risk of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, and somewhat improved A1C levels.
Pharmaceutical companies often must take several months after FDA approval to build up manufacturing capabilities and sales force capacity for a new product before it officially launches. Medtronic originally predicted it would begin selling the 670G in the U.S. in Spring 2017; the company met that deadline with just two weeks to spare.
The announcement allows Medtronic to enjoy a good news cycle. The company recently has endured several issues with its diabetes product line. In May, the company warned that a rapid change in air pressure could cause the buttons of several different models of its insulin pumps to stick. In February, the device manufacturer warned of a software problem with the Medtronic 640G pump that may prevent its internal battery from charging. And in January Medtronic warned of an issue with kinked cannulas for its MiniMed Pro-Set infusion sets.
The timing of this announcement could certainly be seen as strategic. Medtronic announced the release of the 670G just two days before the American Diabetes Association 77th Scientific Sessions is set to begin. The Scientific Sessions are considered the biggest diabetes-related conference of the year; artificial pancreas development has dominated discussions of Type 1 diabetes treatments in past Scientific Sessions conferences.
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