Why can't you buy pump supplies at pharmacies?

Wouldn't this make things easier?

Probably to keep costs lower. Pharmacies make a killing! Their markup is massive. And I'd guess many insurances would not pay for this markup along with the high cost of many of the supplies.

I concur. My Animas pump is being shipped to me June 15. I was surprised when the rep told me that I could order up to 3 months of supplies through her. I said I'd rather get them at my pharmacy, and she told me I can't do that.

True. Probably ~50%. But the shipping would be a lot less, which would eat a chunk out of the markup. Maybe not a whole box, but at least an "emergency kit" single reservoir + infusion set. Or better yet, pharmacies get their own brands, as they've started doing with BG monitors.

I order my supplies through a pharmacy - I call the pharmacy when I need supplies and they order them from Animas. It takes a few days, but my insurance pays the pharmacy directly (so I don't have to claim it afterwards) and I also earn Air Miles on the purchase as I use the Safeway pharmacy.

I have seen infusion sets and reservoirs on the shelves behind the counter at the Costco pharmacy, but I don't know if those are ones people have ordered or if you can just walk in and get them.

I think it is because each pump manufacturer has a proprietary lock on their particular pieces that it takes to use their brand of pump. True, there are supply houses that specialize in the distribution of pump supplies, but because they are so specialized and expensive, the pump companies don't want too many suppliers out there.

Actually, I kind of like buying directly from Animas. I have never had a problem with them, and I know the supplies they send will always be fresh. Animas has a drop ship plan, but I do not participate in it. I would rather order my supplies as necessary. that way I can control what I get.

Residing in BC, Canada : the only way to receive supplies is through a Pharmacy ; I order when supplies run low ...BC Pharmacare will cover , after one has reached the Pharmacare deductable , according to one's income/taxes payable . Airmiles at BC 's Pharmacies are covered , if supplies/medications are paid by self/ Extended Health plan .The Pharmacy does NOT charge a dispensing fee on filling pump supplies orders etc. , however the cost may include this ?? It may pay off to shop around ?

Sam, relatively speaking, in the USA,VERY few insulin dependent diabetics use insulin pumps. It is considered the "gold" standard of care for type one diabetes, and some, but not many, newly diagonsed type ones are put on the pump within 9 months 1 year after diagnosis . My experience from speaking to type 2's , the majority of diagnosed diabetics in the US, are almost never told of the possibility of pump usage. However , IMHO, these reasons lead to the pump being a minority treatment plan for most insulin dependent diabetics::
1. the expense,
2.unfamiliarity with pumps by treating physicians for a good majoirty of diabetics,
3.lack of healthcare/ insurance that would pay for even a portion of the supplies.
It is not deemed as profitable for pharmacies to stock such items. I do not even think that speciality pharmacies carry supplies specifically for pump usage..They may carry adhesives and the like; but nothing for just pump use, like infusion sets and reservoirs.. Probably not profitable enough to stock in quantity. You can get them from mail-order and internet sources, but I have yet to see such items in a walk-in drugstore in Columbus Ohio, where I live. Probably never will, unfortunately.

It would be Easier for us who regularly use such supplies; definitely yes. More profitable for the phamacies? Probably not. . Look at the mark-up, as other posters have noted, and the cost factor to the drugstore:Supply and demand.

God Bless,

200,000 - 300,000 of us including at least 10,000 T2's. About 8-10% of all T1's are pumpers. An expaniding market. Very interesting to hear that some of us do see them in a pharmacies. I also have seen third party infusions sets. Will probably try buying sets from one of those discount warehouses pretty soon.

I agree I think it would be much easier if I could go down to my local Target Pharmacy and pick up my pump supplies.

But what if they send you wrong, or defective supplies? Wouldn't it be better to to just return them and get different ones, than to have to mail them back and wait several days for replacements? I'm a Medtronic guy, myself.

Your using a MM pump...why would you take the risk of using a third party infusion set, a couple of years ago Medtronic recalled over a million infusion sets because they found a tinny bit too much silicon lubricant on the reservoir connector which is also the pump vent. If this vent is blocked off the pump will build up pressure inside the case and this will cause the piston in the reservoir to move in order to equalize pressure inside the pump. This is a deadly problem. Medtronic needs to have control of their product at all times and they have no control over third party distributors.

The T1 market is flat and only changes with world population but the T2 market is exploding at the seams. This expanding T2 market has already had some positive impact on the Pump and CGM market as more and more T2's will get insurance approval everyday, this can only help the T1 market more company's are getting into the pump market.

I don't mind dealing w/ Medtronic directly. I haven't had any problems with stuff, other than when BCBS does their yearly "we need to see the rx to cover your supplies [as if I'd get better...]" BS. This year I had a couple of days w/o a sensor b/c of that but part of it was my own fault for being sort of oblivious to it. I also am not a big "set changer" as I found the Silhouettes to work the best and just stick with them. The stuff that gets shipped has always arrived faster than they said it would so I am pleased with that too.

I still get insulin at the pharmacy but everything else is in the mail...

I dont trust mail order for my insulin. I have to get my supplies from Liberty, they are ok, but I liked dealing with Medtronic better.

Actually, incidence of T1 is increasing by almost 4% / year in the US in children under 5. Sure, we'll never catch up with the T2s, but we seem to be seeing something of a "T1 epidemic".


I'm not planning on using a 3rd party infusion set. I had problems with the quick sets, but am quite happy with the Sure - T's. I might need to buy them from a cheaper source, though. Not sure if I agree with you about Medtronic's need to control their product. I think that part of the problem is that once you buy their pump, you're a captive market. Sometimes, they release very poorly designed products, or components. I'd be happy to see someone do better. When I called them about my pump failure, they acted shocked. When I checked here, It seems that most of our pumps fail every year or 2.

Last time I saw my Endo, she said that I needed to get an A1C, because "Medtronic was requesting it". I found that strange.

Some insurance company's ask for a A1c, c-peptide, BG readings for a period of time, some use the same criteria as medicare and some insurance co. ask for nothing. Is your doctor ordering your pump or are you trying to do this alone.

My doctor supply's a letter of medical necessity each time I buy a new pump or a CGM transmitter, in most states this letter overrides the red tape and often cancels out insurance foot dragging. Texas has a law that says insurance company's must approve durable medical supply's if the doctor says it's a medical must have.

??? That is strange... wow... Are you a Type 2? I know for sure Type 2s need to get their C-peptide and A1C checked before consideration for a pump.

Medtronic is not your Dr. though, wow, I never heard of this before.

Maybe its for record reasons to see how much their product improves your "D" control. IDK but I've been pumping for nearly 2 years and I don't remember them ever asking for an A1C.

I'm T1. It was no problem ordering the pump. My Dr., and the pump salesman took care of everything. What I thought was strange was that she said they for asking her for it, when reordering supplies, I was using the same Dr.

I have a local pharmist (not a chain) that I believe if I got my pump supplies from that it would be cheaper. Already he has saved us money on our prescriptions. We are on Medicare and before we met our local pharmacist by now we would have been in what's known as the "donut hole", those on Medicare know what that is. Anyway it's now June and we're not even near the hold since using him because he works with his clients and gives them discounts. I believe if my pump supplies came from him that his prices would be cheaper. I've recently learbed that individual local pharmacies because they are individual that you can save money because they care about their clients, so support you local pharmacies.