Abbott Strikes Again


I just read a post on the ADA message board that someone using the OmniPod was getting lower than normal test results with the new Freestyle butterfly strips.  She also saw a post on another board talking about the same thing.  Curiosity killed the cat so I thought I would Google the new Freestyle strips.  There were conversations going on several message boards about it.

Apparently, Abbott stopped making the regular Freestyle test strips.  Once the ones that are currently in the system are gone, you can’t get them anymore.  Abbott is telling people they are out there, just call around and find them.  When you have insurance that limits where you can buy strips from, that is easier said than done.

Abbott did not bother to get FDA approval for using their new strips in the OmniPod’s PDM – big surprise there.  Getting FDA approval would mean getting the proper testing done to show that the new strips will actually work in the pod. 

A lot of people are getting readings lower than normal.  They are testing with other meters and even using the old Freestyle strips to compare readings.  Someone on one of the message boards suggested that maybe the other meter was the one reading high.  One way to find out is to compare test results to a lab, but it isn’t like you can just pop in a lab on whim and get a comparison test done.  I am sure a lot of people had already tested the old Freestyle strips and PDM to make sure it was accurate.  And if they did not think it was accurate, they would not be using it.  I test my meters to make sure they are accurate. 

People are calling Insulet and Insulet is suggesting they not use the new strips because they need to be approved by the FDA. That will obviously take time.  If Abbott had a contract with Insulet for pod users to use Freestyle strips, how can Abbott just stop making the strips without making sure there was a reliable replacement that was FDA approved.   

I understand the need to upgrade and continue to improve your products.  I have had meters that became obsolete and I was forced to upgrade my meter.  However, there is a big difference between a $15-$20 meter becoming obsolete and the pod’s PDM.  If the number of people complaining about the strips is reflective of the accuracy in the pod’s PDM, can Abbott even get FDA approval for them?  What happens if they don’t?  Will Insulet have to redesign their PDM to work with another kind of strip?  It certainly is not Insulet’s fault that Abbott dropped the ball but their customers will have to pay the price for that. 

It amazes me that a company like Abbott manufacturers medical products can be so reckless in their actions.  My Navigator broke in January and that stuff is still on backorder.  I had already said I would never use another product made my Abbott and hearing this just confirms that (not that I had any doubts about that!).
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2 thoughts on “Abbott Strikes Again

  1. So Kelly, I use the Freestyle Lite (no coding) – have done for many years – and prior to the the Freestyle (where you code for new test strips packages). I don’t seem to have any probs with using that meter. I don’t even think these “butterfly” test strips are available here in Canada (we don’t have Dexcom yet either). So, do you think it’s still safe for me to use my Freestyle Lite?

    • You are safe Anna. It seems the people with regular meters like the strips. It was the people using OmniPods that were having problems and not everyone is having a problem.

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