Why Are Insulin Pumps So Expensive

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Grudge Match: Pens Vs. Syringes

Taking insulin is a cornerstone of care for millions who have diabetes, and the most common method of insulin delivery in the U.S. is injection via needle and syringe. Roughly 20% of insulin users wear an insulin pump, 15% use insulin pens, and less than 1% use jet injectors. Insulin pumps can be expensive, with the average price hovering around $6,500, not including the disposable supplies that have to be replenished regularly, such as infusion sets, cartridges, and batteries. Although jet injectors may seem like a dream come true for patients who fear needles, they have been known to cause bruising and more pain than injections. The big question is why insulin pens are not more popular in the U.S., whereas in Europe and Japan, they comprise from 66% to 75% of insulin prescriptions. It’s not for lack of patient appreciation: In the November 2011 issue of the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, a review of 43 studies that compared patient- reported outcomes for insulin pen devices found that patients preferred pens over vial and syringe for myriad reasons, including ease of use, less pain, and greater perceived social acceptance. Indeed, patients are generally receptive t Continue reading >>

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Popular Questions

  1. KidROFL

    I've learned that the price of a pump is usually upwards of $3000+ and am really wondering what the reason for the high cost is. Because I drive a car that cost less than that I cannot afford a pump for that much and my doctor has put me on a 24 hour replaceable pump called the V-Go which is about $2 a day. My theory for why they are so expensive is simply "because they can". Pumps are an item that most diabetics NEED and so because of this the medical companies can charge just about anything they want to a market of people who NEED it. There is no way that the manufacturing cost of some hard plastic and a mechanism for delivering a set amount of insulin can cost companies any more than a few hundred dollars to make each one.

  2. thatanthrochick

    The short answer: expensive FDA testing, continual R&D, and a shit ton of proprietary components and algorithms. Also, from an electronics standpoint, a lot of companies who sell electronic components will not sell to medical companies because of the risk of liability. They aren't going to be able to shop around for pieces as easily as Nokia can for phone parts.

  3. goodsam1

    The precision required and it ALWAYS has to work.

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