The True Cost of Innovation in the Medical Device Industry

medical device industry

Most small businesses start out with the ambitious goal to offer a product or service that is different or unique.  Often this is the difference between success and failure.

In the Medical / Surgical device space the objective for every “start-up” company is typically no different.  When a medical device company comes to market they are typically doing so with a better widget or mouse trap, at a more attractive price point and with “bells and whistles” the established market leader does not offer.  Service and customer culture are also key elements to what is otherwise labeled as someone “disrupting” the market.

A few examples of such disruptors in the medical and surgical device space would be companies like Entellus Medical, Cayenne Medical and Genicon, just to name a few.  In each case, they developed, patented and came to market with products to compete with market leaders like Acclarent, Arthrex and Ethicon.  Every year, more companies come to market with medical devices that benefit the healthcare industry on a global scale. Surgeons are blessed with a plethora of options, patients receive better outcomes, it’s positive for all constituents….. Or, is it?

Let’s be honest, there is a downside to this disruption and that’s the tens of millions of dollars of medical device inventory that gets pushed aside and in most cases thrown away from facilities that switch from product platform A to product platform B,C, D and beyond.  Unfortunately, it’s become a part of the cost of doing business and in many cases the losses realized wipe out much of the savings that Hospital purchasing staff were convinced they would experience.

OEM A’s products are typically not interchangeable with OEM C’s, so one of two things happens ….. Inventory might get used up, or it gets put on a shelf with the intent to circle back to it and it eventually expires.  Here’s the real kicker. Surgical facilities don’t even have to change OEM’s or product platforms per se to experience these losses!

The largest and most successful market leaders, because of the “disruptors,” are forced to come out with improvements to their own products on a regular basis, which leads to inventory confusion, poor stock rotation and wasted products without even changing vendors!  And we wonder why surgical procedures are so expensive?

Fortunately, this is where a new market disruptor entered the picture 20 years ago. I founded West Coast Medical Resources (WestCMR) in 1997 with the express intent to provide Hospital and Surgery Centers across America a viable option for monetizing their unwanted and yet perfectly viable medical device and surgical supply inventory created by market disruption.  OEM’s did not want the product back, had extremely unreasonable return policies if they had any at all, and a boutique industry was born.  Now partnered with GeoSurgical, LLC and Ware Consulting, LLC we are marching forward providing Global solutions to this disruption.

To learn more about the options you have when overstocked medical devices or surgical supplies are crowding your shelves, please visit