Medtronic Warned on SynchroMed Drug Pumps, MiniMed Insulin Pump Manufacturing

Medtronic Inc. has received a warning letter regarding its SynchroMed II Drug Pumps and MiniMed Paradigm Insulin Pump. In the letter, the Food & Administration (FDA), cites Medtronic for taking too long to recall the <"">SynchroMed pumps. The letter also said that an inspection conducted last year at the Puerto Rican plant where both pumps were made found that Medtronic failed to establish and maintain quality controls in manufacturing.

SynchroMed II pumps are implantable devices used to deliver medicine to the spine. They have been recalled on several occasions.

According the FDA warning letter, some SynchroMed pumps were released for distribution and implanted in patients even though they were not filled with a needed propellant. The problem was not discovered during the manufacturing process even though the pumps went through a propellant weight check, the letter said.

The pumps were recalled for this problem in May 2008, after Medtronic received two reports of SynchroMed pumps being removed from patients because of a lack of propellant. “FDA is concerned with your failure to initiate a recall for devices affected by the propellant problem in a timely manner,” the warning letter, dated June 1, states. “It took almost two years from when the missing propellant was initially identified to conduct a recall.”

The FDA letter also criticized Medtronic for failing to notify the agency within 30 days of at least two reports of potentially serious patient issues with MiniMed Paradigm Insulin Pumps, and for failing to have a person qualified to make a medical judgment determine if reported problems had anything to do with a patient’s death or serious injury. According to the letter, training records showed that the employee who evaluated MiniMed pump reports only had a high school diploma with some additional in-house training.

The FDA warning letter stemmed from an inspection of Medtronic’s Puerto Rican facility that occurred from November 12, 2008 through December 15, 2008. The company has 15 working days from the date it received the warning letter to respond to the FDA. The FDA letter warned Medtronic that failure to promptly correct violations could result in regulatory action being initiated without further notice.

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