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Dr. Bill's Commentaries

Smiths Medical discontinues Deltec Cozmo pump (Part 2)   (March 31, 2009)

Yesterday I wrote about my initial very frustrated reaction after learning that Smiths Medical is discontinuing the Cozmo insulin pump. Which I consider a crying shame, as the Deltec Cozmo pump, IMHO, is the best pump out there.

Today, I spoke with several people from Smiths, including Richard Thomas, Vice President, Global Diabetes, Smiths Medical North America, who sent out the messages to pump users and physicians about the decision. They clarified several points:

First, there is no immediate cut-off for us Cozmo pumpers getting our supplies from Smiths Medical -- that fact had been completely unclear in the information in both the letter I received and at their website.

Second, they continually reassured me that they do plan to honor the four-year warranty on their pump.

And the phone mess I encountered yesterday when calling Smiths was partially due to phone company issues and out of Smiths' control.

And, at my suggestion, an e-mail was sent today to the folks who subscribe to the e-newsletter "Just Coz" to let more folks know.

Finally, it became very clear to me that Smiths' decision to "exit from the Diabetes business over time" was a total surprise to many employees, some of whom were promptly laid off: see the blog by one affected employee.

Well, now the question for all of us who are using and loving our Cozmo pumps: what to do next? Clearly, any decision to switch to another pump will involve considerable hassle, both for us, our wallets (which will have to shell out a substantial co-pay), our physicians (who will have to sign off on the inevitable paperwork), and the insurance companies who will foot a large percentage of the bill (or deny us the right to switch, depending on how nefarious the insurance company's rules might be!).

Personally, I have decided not to switch at this time or anytime in the near future. Partially because of the hassle factor, but mainly because I don't think the other brands of pumps offer the same features in the same compact package that the Cosmo has. Someday, I'd like to look at a side-by-side comparison of all the features of all the pumps, then decide which are important to me, and see if any pump might be as good as (or better than?) Cozmo. For instance, I really don't need a pink or green pump; if it comes in basic black, it's good enough for both me and Henry Ford, but having a color choice might be important for some people. Or having a waterproof pump. Or having a pump with an integrated mini-meter. Or having excellent customer service. Or whatever.

Hopefully, during the next three years while my Cozmo is under warranty, someone somewhere will design a new and improved insulin pump that actually exceeds the Cozmo's specs. When they do, I'll switch. In the meantime, I'll listen to the sales pitches from the competitors, and see how their features stack up against my beloved Cozmo.

And I'll continue to use it as long as possible.

And I'll continue to shake my head in bemused frustration at the corporate bigwigs who made the decision to discontinue the best thing for diabetes since sliced bread.

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Dr. Bill Quick began writing at HealthCentral's diabetes website in November, 2006. These essays are reproduced at D-is-for-Diabetes with the permission of HealthCentral.

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