J&J unit recalls potentially leaky insulin cartridges

Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) string of product recalls has hit its insulin pump business. The company has recalled more than 380,000 insulin pump cartridges after learning of leaks in cartridges that could reduce delivery of insulin to diabetics who rely on the therapy to help control their blood sugar.

Animas, the J&J unit that makes the affected products, said that the recall includes 2.0 milliliter insulin cartridges shipped to sites in the U.S. and France between Nov. 30 and Jan. 4., Reuters reported. In a Feb. 24 note to patients, Animas warned that "under-delivery of insulin can cause high blood sugar and/or diabetic ketoacidosis," which are serious conditions that can cause severe and even fatal outcomes.

The leaky cartridges can also prevent the insulin pump from sounding an alarm when there is a blockage in the infusion system, according to the letter to patients. A company spokeswoman told Reuters that there were reports of two adverse events in patients, yet neither case had resulted in hospitalizations.

J&J, a healthcare products giant based in New Brunswick, NJ, does not break out sales from each individual business unit such as Animas. But Animas is part of the company's Diabetes Care group, which had global sales of $2.5 billion in 2010 or about 4 percent of the parent's total annual revenue last year, Dow Jones Newswire reported.

- read Reuters' coverage
- here's the Animas note to patients
- see what Dow Jones reported