The story of the Medifridge, a product that changed the lives of thousands of diabetics worldwide

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Everything begins in France in 2003, summer of the infamous heat wave. Mr. Uwe DIEGEL, managing director of a medical business in Paris is expecting the visit from New Zealand of his diabetic brother, Dr Olaf Diegel. The two men have already built strong international reputations in the field of industrial design for cardiology and quite often work together on new research projects. Olaf, diabetic since the age of 17, is professor of industrial design at the Auckland Technology University. His job forces him to travel a lot to take part in international congresses. He is a well-versed traveler and is used to travelling with his insulin and keeping it cool using ice-boxes and cooler bags (insulin, like many other medications, is sensitive to heat and should be stored at a temperature between 2 and 8°C.

In August 2003, Olaf books himself into a small hotel near Auxerres in France. When he arrives at the hotel, he notices that there is no fridge in his hotel room (even though he had particularly insisted on this when making his booking). He needs a fridge to store his insulin. So he arranges with the clerk at the entrance desk to keep his insulin in the fridge in the kitchen.

Olaf does not speak French, coming from New Zealand. A few hours later, Olaf needs his insulin and goes down to reception to ask for it, only to discover that it was placed in the freezer by accident by someone in the kitchen. He is thus obliged to have the night pharmacy opened just to get some fresh insulin. Luckily, the problem is resolved easily enough.

A technology driven by a personal need

Back in Paris, Olaf meets is brother and they discuss the events. They decide, just for fun, to design the idea of a portable fridge, about the size of a mobile phone that would use a Peltier Effect to create cold without gas or moving parts. On paper, the idea should in theory work, so they decide to make a rough prototype using whatever they had available at the time (the battery was stolen from Uwe’s Video Cam.

The prototype actually works quite well, so the two brothers send the prototype to an industrial design contest run by NASA in the USA. The product becomes a winner at the contest, receives unexpected publicity and becomes the subject of an international story on the CNBC TV network. It then also receives an award at the Concours Lepine in Paris in 2005. All these events convince the two brothers to launch a first run of the Medifridge in 2005.

Today, the MedActiv products (MedActiv is the brand created by the two brothers to commercialize their products) encompass a full range of solutions for the transport and storage of all thermo-sensitive medications.

MedActiv has just launched the MF-MXIIa in Europe. This new version of the Medifridge is perfectly adapted for most heat-sensitive medications, such as insulin, growth hormones and medication for poly arthritis.

To order products or get more information, visit http://www.medactiv.com

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