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An open letter to Novo Nordisk

Dear makers of my Novolog FlexPen,

A few weeks ago, I had a problem with my pen. I came home sick from work one day and when I checked my sugar, it was almost 300. Per usual, I took a bolus. Then I took a nap. I awoke feeling very groggy & thirsty so I reached for my glucometer. A few drops of blood, some beeps from the machine & then…some expletives from my mouth. I was at almost 500mg/dL! All I’d done was sleep and the sickness I was feeling was a headache & shouldn’t have made my sugars jump. I reached for the pen again and when I found a suitable spot to inject, I tried but something was off. The plunger seemed “off.” I can’t describe it except to say it went faster than normal. I decided to do a 2 unit air bolus to make sure it was working. Dialed up the pen to 2 units. Pushed the plunger. Nothing. Tried again. Nada. Dialed up to 10 units just for the heck of it. No dice. I immediately grabbed a new pen out of the fridge and successfully took a correction bolus. Then, I found your number and I called your customer service.

There was no long wait time. I don’t remember if I had to push 1 for English or any of that (the after nap stupor+ super high blood sugar affected my memory apparently). I was quickly speaking to a customer service rep (sorry I don’t remember her name!) and I told her I had a pen malfunction. I walked her through what happened. She then told me there were a few questions she had to ask. “Go for it” I said. First she asked if I had performed an air bolus. Check. She asked if I had stored my pen with the needle still on. “Of course not.” I responded. “I remove the needle after each use and put it in my end table nightstand desk sharps container.” She asked if I was sure I removed the cap after each use. I tried to remain calm when I explained myself AGAIN. Then she asked what brand of needle I was using. “BD ultra fine short pen needles.” Her response was, “Oh, that’s probably the issue. We don’t recommend using those needles. We suggest you use the NovoFine.” Understandable. However, I have been using the Novolog/BD combination since my diagnosis three years ago but I’ve never had this problem. So I’m feeling as if I’m being accused of being a bad diabetic. Hello?! Don’t you think I take enough crap from myself, my doctors, my family & complete strangers? Are you a PWD? Do you know how much work it takes? Well, let me tell you. I may not always perform an air bolus (who can afford to waste the insulin?) but I always remove my needles after using them (and I don’t reuse them either – unless I forget to restock my kit in which case once in a while I may have to do it. But I don’t make it a habit because it hurts – a lot!). So after the run around she told me I had to speak with someone in another department regarding my safety because of my elevated glucose levels. I was transferred to another woman (who’s name I also don’t remember – I should write this stuff down!) She asked if I needed a report sent to my doctor about what happened. “No, I can take care of it. Thanks.” She went through a few more questions (made sure I had more insulin to take and that I took another bolus – done and done). Then she told me to hang on to the malfunctioning pen. They would send a replacement to my pharmacy and I would exchange it for the bad one. All in all, I was a little distressed after the first customer service agent and her silly questions but I know everyone has a job to do. I was told it would take 3-5 days to settle this. Honestly, I was pleased to be getting a replacement. My sole intention when calling was to alert you of the malfunction in case you were noticing a trend. Getting a replacement pen was icing on the cake.

About 3 days later my pharmacy called to tell me my replacement was in. I headed down with that nasty no good pen. When I got to the pharmacy, I was expecting one single pen. I got a brand new box of 5 y’all!!!! It was  like Christmas!!!! I immediately forgot how frustrated I had been with that first customer service agent (honestly, I had forgotten a few hours after the call. For the record, she wasn’t rude and I know she was just doing her job). So I just want to pass word along that Novo Nordisk did me right. When I have an extreme experience with something (good or bad), I tend to share it with everyone I know. So consider this a pat on the back Novo Nordisk. I don’t make many trips to the pharmacy where I leave with a perma-grin on my face.


An extremely pleased PWD


2 responses

  1. Tony

    While I think the NovoLog Pen conceipt is great I wonder about how the TV ad is coming over to the public. The man looks to be injecting himself at the table with the children looking on. He turns away to hide what he is doing and this is the rub. All people I see who use the needle excuse themselves and go to a private area to inject. I think this is very bad adverstising and the ad should be edited.

    January 19, 2012 at 11:43 am

    • I agree! People used to ask me why I didn’t hide it. One, I have nothing to hide or be ashamed of. Two, where would I go? The bathroom? GROSS! And three, it’s a great opportunity to educate! Thanks for the comment Tony!

      March 26, 2012 at 4:37 pm

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