Pump-maker Medtronic recently announced it will be expanding its insulin pump operations in China. According to a Fierce Medical Devices report, Medtronic plans to build a manufacturing plant in Chengdu that will create next-generation versions of the insulin pumps and sensors the company currently offers in China. Alejandro Galindo, who heads Medtronic’s diabetes device division, said the new plant’s location is advantageous because Chengdu is a global medical technology hub.
The move reflects growing awareness among health care companies of the lucrative Chinese market for diabetes devices and supplies. Dr. Cesar Chelala, an international health consultant, writes in the political journal Counterpunch that market comes at the cost of a growing health epidemic in China.
“Twenty-five years ago, the number of people with diabetes in China was less than one percent. Today, China has more than 114 million people suffering from the disease, the highest number of any country in the world,” Dr. Chelala writes.
The Medtronic announcement indicated that the device will display information in the “Chinese language”, but it was not clear if this would include both Mandarin and Cantonese, the main dialects spoken in China.
The most recent announcement from Medtronic also didn’t specify the exact devices that will be manufactured in the new facility, but Medtronic officials said the devices will use the same SmartGuard technology used in the company’s MiniMed 640G glucose monitor and pump.
The 640G is not available in the U.S. market, and it does not appear that Medtronic has filed for approval for the device system with the FDA. In 2015, the FDA warned that there was a flaw detected in the 640G system that caused the device to not refresh bolus readings properly.
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