Can I Buy Used Insulin Pumps?

| Oct 1, 2001

Q: Last summer, through one of your links, I found a few used MiniMed pumps for sale—$1,500 or so—and now I can't find the link.

Do you have any information on where to pick up a used pump?

Tiffany Flowers

A: This question is a bit probematic. An insulin pump is a regulated medical device that can only be dispensed with a prescription. Assuming that this matter could be taken care of, the second problem is knowing the condition of the pump and the warranty remaining—if any. The pump companies address this in that, for a nominal fee (about $50), the registration for a particular pump can be changed from one owner to another. This cannot be done, however, until it can be determined that the person in question has the training necessary to use the device and that the requisite medical-support team is in place and willing to sign off on the process.

As far as I know, each of the pump companies has a refurbishment program where, for a fee of around $500, they will refurbish the pump, bring it up to its original specifications and warranty it for some period of time. There remain some legal questions that should be answered prior to purchasing a used pump:

  • Who really owns it: the seller or their insurance company?
  • Was it purchased outright or is it a leased pump?

As far as where they can be bought, pumps appear from time to time on and on other auction sites.

I would strongly suggest that you ask Animas, Disetronic and MiniMed about their specific policies on pump transfers and the availability of refurbished equipment. This question does not have one "right" answer, though it does have many wrong ones.



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Categories: Insulin, Insulin Pumps

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Posted by Shawn on 3 November 2007

Hello, We bought our son an insulin pump when he went away to college, but he had great difficulty with it. After repeated illness and blood sugars out of control, he has opted to go off his pump. Happily he has been able to control his blood sugar with a low carb diet and intensive monitoring. It seems that he somehow had the pump callibrated wrong(I think he needed more educational support from the company but there were no educators living close to him), but he says that he does not feel comfortable with it and prefers using syringes. How can I sell his pump so that someone else can safely use it?

Posted by Anonymous on 1 February 2008

I am the CEO of a nonprofit diabetes assistance organization. We take donated inulin pumps and have them recertified and then give them to folks in need. I can tell you from experience that the recertification fees paid typically will only extend a warranty for 6 months -- and do not transfer the life of a remaining warranty. Buying used pumps is dangerous and illegal and you may even find yourself in trouble with the government. Medtronic, for example makes two pump models for Medicare and Medicaid recipients. These pumps are rental pumps and do not even belong to the patient. They cannot be sold or given away.

Since all pump companies track their pumps via serial number you could either end up in possession of a pump illegally or with a pump model the company will not support. In addition to a recertification fee you may still have to pay out of pocket for an upgrade that typically costs about $1,000 or more.

Very young children may need small amounts of basal delivery and could be harmed by many older pump models that cannot accomodate tiny basal increments. All but two types of pumps use 1.76ml or 200 ml cartridges - not ideal for people who need a lot of daily insulin. For this reason it is very important to have your doctor involved when getting an insulin pump.

For reasons of safety and liability risks I strongly advise against selling or buying insulin pumps through private individuals. People seek to get sell pumps for two reasons: they are broken, or the model is outdated.

One more word for those who sell their pumps -- if your insurance paid for it and you resell a pump under warranty your insurance could seek recovery of the cost of the pump. If they could show evidence you used insurance to get a pump only to resell, you could even be convicted of fraud.

Lahle Wolfe
CEO,, Inc.

Posted by Anonymous on 4 February 2008

I depend on a pump. I am uninsured and due to the nature of a prexisting condition, I cannot purchase insurance. So, my present pump cost $5K--for a device that is clearly a few hundred dollars. It is a criminal shame that the pump companies have a monopoly on these things and they cost so much!

Posted by Anonymous on 25 February 2008

i'm fed up with this medical condition. i have no medical insurance and cannot recieve any help. my insulin pump was stolen and minimed will not replace it under my warrenty because i don't have a pump to return!!! i don't do well on shots and now i have to become sick because the high priced medical world doesn't give a care about our health!!!! Thanks for letting me die

Posted by Anonymous on 4 March 2008

Prayers go out to these people who have to deal with such probelms because of insurance reasons...many do die or become sick because of cost and stress....In a wealthy america this is a shame and many doctors do not care. I too have been told by the pediatric dr. that I am only alowwed 15 minutes because of my discounted medical plan and we wonder about training on such a delicate issue...My pryeris God sees all and those who do care bless and watch over the sick...

Posted by Anonymous on 25 September 2008

About the "monopolistic" post. If you think it is so easy, come up with the idea of an insulin pump,create your own pump company and start selling them cheap. The market is open.

Posted by Anonymous on 16 March 2009

I have a used insulin pump upstairs in a closet with some supplies to go along with it. I would like to sell it, but apparently, it is illegal. How can I get rid of this pump or to whom can I donate it to? Please inform as someone may be able to benefit.

Posted by Anonymous on 21 March 2009

I'm from Russia. I want to buy pump for my son in the US bec it's too expencive here in Russia.(used or new one - doesn't matter) How can it be done? I can take a prescription from my doctor. Medrtonic representatives in Moscow promise to take care about it...

Posted by Anonymous on 16 April 2009

Same thing here. I have a brother in my home country who can't afford a pump there. Their cost for pump alone is 10,000 dollars... out of this world how they can put such a high price on people's health.
And what about diabetic women who want to have a baby? They just have to risk their lives and try go through pregnancy on shots? Or just be doomed to not having any.


Posted by Anonymous on 29 June 2009

Lahle Wolfe from CEO,, Inc. is incorrect in saying that it is illegal to sell a used insulin pump. The only reason that insurance companies require a prescription for an insulin pump and the associated supplies (infusion sets)is due to the high cost associated with them. It has nothing to do with them being illegal to use the device (insulin pump) or the infusion sets themselves. It is not illegal to sell used insulin pumps in the United States. What should be illegal is the amount that companies that manufacture and sell such devices are allowed to charge for insulin pumps! $6,000+ is simply ridiculous for something that can save a diabetic's life! And then there are organizations that try to tell you they offer programs to give you insulin pumps "if you qualify"...e.g., if you don't make enough money to purchase an insulin pump on your own or if you don't have insurance. Of course, you never qualify for any of those programs.

Just do a quick search online and you'll find plenty of people that are more than willing to sell their insulin pumps and unused supplies for a reasonable price.

Posted by Anonymous on 18 October 2009

I am from Canada and it is NOT illegal to sell used insulin pumps here. The prescription required from a doctor is so a person's insurance company will have proof that an individual needs the device, should that person have insurance. I do not have insurance and Medtronic ( I spoke to a representative recently) will gladly sell me the device, no questions asked, once I send them the money. I do need a prescription for the supplies associated with it though.

So please educate yourself before you make false statements. Many people on insulin pump therapy find it useful and live changing. These people should not have to pay outrageous amounts of money for an insulin pump, which costs maybe a couple hundred to make. Pump companies are smooth sailing because they have a monopoly on the technology that most all diabetics would need to live normal lives more easily.

Posted by sandy48 on 26 January 2010

i have a pump i would like to sell its 4 yrs old and still works great can i sell this to someone

Posted by Anonymous on 23 October 2011

I have a Medtronic Paradigm Revel pump that is like brand new, yet I got an Animas that I like better. How do I sell the Revel to someone who needs it? If I didn't need financial help, I would be happy to donate it.

Posted by Anonymous on 30 December 2011

People who say so and so is illegal and then suggest to have your pumps donated is blasphemy. You say that it is illegal to use used pumps yet donated pumps are ongoing and advisable. If I had an extra one I would gladly give to those who need it especially with the madness of finances involved to even maintain pump therapy! Then insurance being stingy when we pay high premiums. American's health should not be discounted because some Mr. Joe Schmo wants to make a buck for pennies worth. It's robbery, and people are dying of this disease from treatment that exists. God bless everyone and cheers to healthier living. Continue to fight for a healthier life that should clearly be a given in this country.

Posted by Anonymous on 26 June 2012

As a nurse and the mother of a type 1, I have some bad feelings toward these large companies and the insurance companies as well. So many people in need and the higher ups are not happy until they have got a billion dollars in the bank. Don't get me wrong, it is a business but my heart goes out to these diabetics who need help. I have an old insulin pump from minimed and want to find a place to donate it. Check this out to if you want:

Posted by Anonymous on 28 August 2014

i have a used pink medtronic minimed pump that i am not using. i switched to animas because my dr wanted me to try it. if anyone is interested in purchasing it please contact me.

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