March 11th, 2011
Response to the Recent Animas Recall
Caroline Pavis, Director of Global Communications, Animas Corporation
I recently joined Animas as the new director of global communications. For those of you who may not know, Animas is a company within the Johnson & Johnson family of companies with a direct-to-patient selling model. Many of our 500 employees worldwide touch the lives of patients daily by training and educating them about insulin pump therapy and managing a life with Type 1 diabetes. It is this dedication and personal connection with patients that makes Animas such a fascinating place to work.
During my first few days at Animas, we received notification from our Quality Assurance team that certain lots of the 2-millimeter insulin cartridges provided to customers could leak insulin, which could cause under delivery of insulin to the patient.
Our team at Animas initiated a voluntary recall and put a plan into action that focused, first and foremost, on addressing the safety of patients who use our products. We were able to trace the affected cartridges to six specific lots and devised a plan to alert our customers.
We first sent an email on Feb. 22 to customers who received cartridges from the identified lots, advising them to discontinue use of those cartridges, and use other cartridges they have on hand or revert to their backup insulin administration plan as instructed by their health care providers until they received a replacement shipment of cartridges from Animas later that week.
As a second step, on Feb. 24, we sent letters and a full supply of replacement cartridges out to the patients who we identified as having received the cartridges from the identified lots. We also notified healthcare providers who serve the affected patients, our distribution partners who were sent cartridges from the identified lots, the FDA, and posted information about the insulin cartridge recall on our Web site.
The diabetes community has a very active social media community, so I also reached out to several influential diabetes bloggers to make them aware of the cartridge recall, and to help get the word out to patients that they should immediately discontinue using any insulin cartridges from the identified lots. This effort didn’t go unnoticed, and I was pleased to see that some of these key members of the online diabetes community communicated our news to their readers, and also recognized our efforts to reach out to them to help spread the news:
- “I have to give the company kudos for jumping on this right away. The official statement hasn’t even been issued yet, and a full reaction plan is already in place. I’m not an Animas user myself, but happy to see this kind of fast and comprehensive customer service becoming the norm.” (Amy Tenderich, Diabetes Mine)
- “These proactive moves by Animas make me proud to be working with their company.” (Kerri Sparling, Six Until Me)
- “It’s also gratifying to see the company being proactive and upfront about the recall, something Diabetic Investor hopes rubs off on other diabetes device companies.” (David Kliff, Diabetic Investor)
Animas’ voluntary recall of certain lots of insulin cartridges has received some negative media coverage recently. I want to take this opportunity to recognize the commitment displayed by Animas in informing patients and customers of the insulin cartridge recall and educating them on the importance of pump safety.
At Animas and across the entire Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Care Franchise, we take seriously our commitment to creating a world without limits for people with diabetes. Walk around the halls inside Animas and you’ll see that many of our employees wear our Animas insulin pumps. We appreciate your trust in us and will continue to dedicate each and every day to providing products and services designed to help patients perform at their best.