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FDA Approves I-Flow's Latest Portable Pump

June 03, 1993|JAMES M. GOMEZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

IRVINE — It looks a lot like a hockey puck, although at almost $200 a pop it's a bit expensive to slam around an ice rink.

But you could wear it while ice skating.

And the U.S. Food and Drug Administration thinks highly enough of I-Flow Corp.'s new portable drug pump that it has given the company final approval to market the device.

The first shipments from the Irvine-based medical products maker are due out in two weeks.

The five-inch plastic pump, called the Paragon, can deliver accurate doses of drugs into patients' arms for as long as eight days. Patients can go about their business--or leisure--with the Paragon tucked inconspicuously into a small fanny pack, said I-Flow chief executive Don Earhart.

"It is very slick," Earhart said. "Nobody has to know you are getting an infusion except you."

Like the company's earlier pump, the SideKick, the spring-loaded Paragon--which sells for $195--works without batteries or electricity, making it much less expensive than the bulkier electronic pumps used by hospitals and home health care agencies. After being wound, it begins delivering the drug in timed doses from a small plastic bag attached to the pump.

And for anyone tempted to use the durable Paragon as a puck while emulating Kings hockey great Wayne Gretzky, Earhart has just one suggestion: "Have a good time. But be sure that it's disconnected first."

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