Savvy Updates, 10/24/22: Omnipod DASH PDM Recall, Insulin Rationing in the US (SHAMEFUL!), Wearable Tech to Charge Devices


Insulet flags battery problem with Omnipod DASH system was posted by Elise Reuter for MedTechDive.com, 17 October 2022.  

Insulet issued an urgent medical device correction, on 17 October 2022, related to battery problems with a component of its Omnipod DASH system. The device uses a wearable insulin pod that’s controlled by a personal diabetes manager (PDM), a smartphone-like device that does the calculations for bolus insulin doses. 

Insulet said it received reports of some Omnipod DASH users having battery problems with their PDM devices, including the battery swelling, fluid leaking from the battery, and in rare cases, extreme overheating. In a letter to users, the company said it plans to ship updated devices to all current Omnipod DASH customers in the coming months. The battery issue applies to all of Insulet’s Omnipod DASH PDMs, but the likelihood of problems may increase if the device has been in use longer than 18 months. Charging the device to a full battery and leaving it on the charger overnight also increases the risk. The company advised patients to monitor their PDMs for battery problems, including a bulging back cover and the device losing its charge very quickly, overheating, or emitting an odor. If patients notice any of these problems, they should not charge the device, stop using the system and switch to a backup insulin plan as soon as they can. Users can also contact Insulet for a temporary replacement device. 

Insulet plans to replace the PDMs for all of its current Omnipod DASH users globally, incurring an aggregate charge of $35 million to $45 million.

Read more:  Insulet flags battery problem with Omnipod DASH system


Insulin Rationing Common, ‘Surprising’ Even Among Privately Insured was reported by Miriam E. Tucker for Medscape.com, 17 October 2022.  

Personal note: This topic is SHAMEFUL!  In the US, there are so many people rationing their insulin, due to the cost!  All for the greed of the insulin manufacturers, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), and the US Congress, which has allowed this to continue. 

    • Insulin Manufacturers:  Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi, who produce about 90% of the insulin market worldwide
    • PBMs: CVS Caremark, Express Scripts, and OptumRx, who manage 80% of all prescriptions and own, or are owned by some of the largest insurers in the country.
    • US Senate and US House of Representatives:  This is NOT a political or party issue.  This is LIFE or DEATH!

Insulin rationing due to cost in the United States is common even among people with diabetes who have private health insurance, as shown in findings published online on October 17 in Annals of Internal Medicine.  The findings from the 2021 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) suggest that about one in six people with insulin-treated diabetes in the US practice insulin rationing — skipping doses, taking less insulin than needed, or delaying the purchase of insulin — due to the price.

Not surprisingly, those without insurance had the highest rationing rate, at nearly a third. However, those with private insurance also had higher rates, at nearly one in five, than the overall diabetes population. And those with public insurance — Medicare and Medicaid — had lower rates.  The finding regarding privately insured individuals was “somewhat surprising,” lead author Adam Gaffney, MD, told Medscape Medical News. But he noted that the finding likely reflects issues such as co-pays and deductibles, along with other barriers patients experience within the private health insurance system.

The authors point out that the $35 co-pay cap on insulin included in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 might improve insulin access for Medicare beneficiaries but a similar cap for privately insured people was removed from the bill. Moreover, co-pay caps don’t help people who are uninsured.  Experts weigh in:

    • “Insulin rationing is frequently harmful and sometimes deadly. In the ICU, I have cared for patients who have life-threatening complications of diabetes because they couldn’t afford this life-saving drug. Universal access to insulin, without cost barriers, is urgently needed,” said Gaffney in a Public Citizen statement. 
    • Senior author Steffie Woolhandler, MD, agrees. “Drug companies have ramped up prices on insulin year after year, even for products that remain completely unchanged.  Drug firms are making vast profits at the expense of the health, and even the lives, of patients,” noted Woolhandler, who is a distinguished professor at the Hunter College, City University of New York, a lecturer in medicine at Harvard, and a research associate at Public Citizen.  

Read more:  


This cutting-edge wearable tech has 1,200 tiny solar panels that can charge your phone was written by Loukia Papadopoulos for InterestingEngineering.com, 16 October 2022.  

Researchers at Nottingham Trent University have invented textiles embedded with more than a thousand miniature solar cells that can charge a smartwatch or mobile phone.  The project is being spearheaded by Dr. Theodore Hughes-Riley, associate professor of Electronic Textiles at the Nottingham School of Art & Design, and has led to the development of a woven textile equipped with 1,200 photovoltaic cells.  These cells have the capacity to harness 400 milliwatts (mWatts) of electrical energy from the sun and can be easily incorporated into a piece of clothing such as a jacket or used as part of an accessory such as a backpack.  

The textiles are engineered to handle the same forces as everyday clothing and can even be washed in a machine at 40°C with other laundry without being damaged.  “Electronic textiles really have the potential to change people’s relationship with technology, as this prototype shows how we could do away with charging many devices at the wall,” said Hughes-Riley, of the university’s Advanced Textiles Research Group (ATRG).  Wearable tech is already surpassing smartphones as the fastest-growing tech innovation, and this invention is sure to turn some heads. In addition to being very practical and useful, it can be engineered to also be quite stylish, a win-win in all aspects.

Read more:  This cutting-edge wearable tech has 1,200 tiny solar panels that can charge your phone

 

 



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