With the Solo’s approval, I had an interesting thought about how the insulin pump market is evolving.
In the glucometer world, the meters are fairly cheap and sometimes free. The real money in blood glucose testing comes from the sale of test strips. Accordingly, a patient can switch from one brand of glucometer to another for almost nothing. The insurance company (which has to pay for test strips anyway) generally doesn’t care about the brand of strips used as they are all priced fairly similarly.
The tubed pump market is much different. An insulin pumper (or more likely, his or her insurance) must pay several thousand dollars for an insulin pump. If the insulin pumper wanted to switch brand of insulin pump during the typical four-year warranty period because he or she was dissatisfied, he or she was unlikely to do so because there would be no insurance reimbursement for the several thousand dollars that would be required.
However, the patch pump market is much closer to the structure of the current glucometer market. Suppose your insurance paid for an OmniPod PDM and a stash of pods, but you wanted to switch to the Medingo Solo. Assuming you have a 4-year warranty on your OmniPod PDM, your insurance will not pay for a Solo PDM equivalent until the warranty expires. But it’s not that big of a deal, because the out-of-pocket cost to make the switch would be merely the cost of the Medingo Solo PDM (which, if it’s priced similarly to the OmniPod PDM, would be a few hundred dollars). The insurance company will have to pay for pods or Solo replacement parts all the same, just like the insurance company has to pay for whatever brand of test strips you happen to be using.
Practically speaking, patch pumpers are not going to be locked into their insulin pump selections for four-year periods like tubed pumpers are.