Medtronic has been the largest maker of insulin pumps since acquiring MiniMed in 2001. Medtronic is the dominant brand in the market and many doctors will only prescribe a Medtronic pump, both because they know nothing about alternatives and because Medtronic has long provided free labor to physicians. Medtronic has also litigated competitors to exit the market (Smith’s Medical), and taken over former competitors Animas and Roche pump businesses. With UnitedHealth’s 2016 exclusive arrangement with Medtronic, the largest healthcare company in the world (by revenues) has effectively determined that its customers have only one choice for an insulin pump: Medtronic.
In the United States, the definition of antitrust behavior is to stifle fair competition for the benefit of consumers.
Will technology innovation for treating T1D be slowed because patients choice in closed loop insulin pumps is stifled by Medtronic? If Tandem or OmniPod can’t sell their competing products due to the UnitedHealth/Medtronic arrangement, how do T1D patients benefit by lack of choice?
What do you think?