Sunday, August 9, 2009


IPump.Org, Inc. Will Refuse Diabetic Supplies Made by Medtronic

In what could become an unprecedented kind of initiative, IPump, Inc. has issued a statement that it will no longer accept donated products manufactured by Medtronic.

IPump is a 501(c)3 organization founded to get needed supplies to diabetic children in families that cannot otherwise afford that care. It is no small thing, therefore, for such an organization to close the door on a corporate donor.

IPump's statement on the matter can be accessed at:

There is discussion both of recurrently failing Medtronic devices, cover-ups, and Medtronic's role in the the fight for FDA preemption in the arena of medical devices.

The statement begins:

"Legal and Ethical Concerns Over Medtronic’s Business Practices

Medtronic has a court-documented track record of failing to properly notify its customers in a timely fashion of known product defects. Product failure has resulted in deaths, hospitalizations, and both individual and class action lawsuits against the company. Their inexcusable behavior has even prompted new proposed legislation because legal rights for patients who died or were injured by Medtronic products were substantially limited when it came to suing for tort damages."

IPump further describes Medtronic collecting used and returned devices and "donating" them to IPump, so that the organization has become (their phrase) a "medical device dumpster." It is also a tax write-off for individual donors of used devices and, until now, good PR for the company.

Quite extraordinary development, I think.


  1. Quite extraordinary, absolutely…
    This is the first time that I know of that a major pharmaceutical company is being publically rejected because of their "inexcusable behavior". Behavior that includes pursuing the doctrine of preemption.

    The Pharmaceutical Industry just keeps on flirting with disaster, seemingly oblivious to extent of their collective wrong-doing. At some point they will reach the tipping point (see the book The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference - Malcolm Gladwell)
    In his book Mr. Gladwell points out that the tipping point comes upon us unaware. It is that point in time and place where a small event or series of events eventually lead to a massive shift in a local community, a nation or the world.

    Just as we suddenly see all of our children craving the newest look, the latest shoes, the must have jeans or the latest world view, we will wake up someday and see the pharmaceutical industry redefined as untrustworthy or “inexcusable”.

  2. Agree. Of course, there has been no shortage of condemnantions. But for a small charity, dependent on the "largesse" of device companies, to push back in this way is, to me, what is unique. "Thanks, but no thanks."

    The bit about being used as a "medical device dumpster" is, I think, also key. We are used to hearing such stories as they relate to substandard drugs or devices "donated" to poor countries.

    When sick,white American kids are the recipients--and the company does not deign even to communicate with the charity involved--perhaps the character of such companies will become more evident.

  3. What a statement. They can’t even give their stuff away.

  4. Here is the relevant bit:

    "Medtronic frequently refers their call-in customers to iPump as a place to donate their used insulin pumps. Instead of allowing Medtronic customers to turn them in for a $500 credit towards a new pump, several people have told us that Medtronic suggests they can donate old pumps to iPump and get a tax deduction for several thousand dollars instead of just a $500 credit as their insurance will pay for the pump anyhow.

    This may sound like a nice gesture, but Medtronic is diverting pumps that they know are so old they will not upgrade them so really have no value at all. In simplest terms, Medtronic appears to be using iPump as a medical device dumpster. We have contacted Medtronic multiple time via phone, emails and letters – including to Medtronic’s president and board of directors and have not had the courtesy of a reply."

    So what they are "giving away" are hand-me-down pumps so the "real people" they do business with--and who have insurance anyway--can get a significant tax break.

  5. Good grief. Gladwell is right. Medtronic has brought me to the vomit point.


    "To contribute to human welfare by application of biomedical engineering in the research, design, manufacture, and sale of instruments or appliances that alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life.

    To direct our growth in the areas of biomedical engineering where we display maximum strength and ability; to gather people and facilities that tend to augment these areas; to continuously build on these areas through education and knowledge assimilation; to avoid participation in areas where we cannot make unique and worthy contributions.

    To strive without reserve for the greatest possible reliability and quality in our products; to be the unsurpassed standard of comparison and to be recognized as a company of dedication, honesty, integrity, and service.

    To make a fair profit on current operations to meet our obligations, sustain our growth, and reach our goals.

    To recognize the personal worth of employees by providing an employment framework that allows personal satisfaction in work accomplished, security, advancement opportunity, and means to share in the company's success.

    To maintain good citizenship as a company.


Note - Due to a time out issue with Blogger, you may receive a message that requires you to resend your comment. This will not affect its contents.