I was as surprised as the rest of you to hear earlier this week that Smiths Medical is killing off the Cozmo insulin pump. Although I guess we should've seen it coming. Heck, the economy is in bad shape, and companies everywhere are cutting their loses. {So sorry for the layoffs, my friend Scott!}deltec-cozmo-dies

According to industry insiders, Deltec (Cozmo creator) has been a "dead duck" for some time now, ever since Smiths Medical, which acquired Deltec, agreed to drop a patent infringement lawsuit by Medtronic back in 2005.  The costs and terms of this settlement apparently crippled Deltec.

But their failure is not good news for insulin pump market leader Medtronic either, should present trends continue, according industry analyst David Kliff (the Diabetic Investor).  Kliff says Medtronic's recent sales have fallen as they rapidly lose market share to J&J's Animas, and also to Insulet, makers of the system I personally love, the OmniPod.  Seven of 10 new patients are currently choosing one of those two companies to start their pumping adventures.

So was the Cozmo a poor product?  Not according to the users (or anyone) I've heard from.  Kliff himself praises the Cozmo system, and says "their demise has more to do with poor management decisions than product design."

As an end-user I find this upsetting:  So great products can be managed into the ground? While more inferior products cleverly marketed and sold might dominate the market?  That would be one thing if we were talking about espresso machines or MP3 players, but life-preserving medical devices?

Innovation 2015

Where will all the former Cozmo users go?  Not likely to Roche, according to Kliff, because their Accu-Chek pump product isn't compelling enough.

But maybe to Bayer, he says, which plans to introduce its own insulin pump later this year.  Hopefully this won't be just another "me-too" conventional pump system -- because what we really need and want is a range of choices for patient in different walks of life: OmniPods actually small enough for children to wear comfortably; simple patch pumps for simple insulin needs (Type 2); and more systems that do away with tubes and wiring.

And don't forget solid Customer Service.  Because all the innovation in the world can't skew the value of getting a real person on the line when you need one.  I don't know if that's what killed the Cozmo, but this sure has gotten me thinking about how important the company-behind-the-technology really is.



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This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn't adhere to Healthline's editorial guidelines. For more information about Healthline's partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.