Hospital closures connected to COVID-19 have cut into the sales of many medical device companies, but executives at rival makers of single-use scopes say pandemic has only heightened existing concerns about contamination, exposure and cost.
In interviews in this week’s DeviceTalks Weekly Podcast, executives from Ambu A/S and Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX) said improved technology make single-use scopes as effective as reusable scopes without carrying the price tag or risk of infection traditional scopes require.
Steve Block, president of Ambu US, projected that over the next decade disposable scopes will account for a majority of devices sold, saying they’ll perform better than traditional devices, cost less, and eliminate the risk of infection. “There is just no reason to use a reusable product,” he said. He said Ambu has sold single-use scopes into 96% of the Top 500 hospitals in the US performing bronchoscopies.
Block appeared on the podcast alongside Juan Jose Gonzalez, CEO of Ambu A/S, the parent company.
Brian Dunkin, MD, CMO of Boston Scientific Endoscopy, appeared on the podcast with Dave Pierce, president of the company’s Medsurg and endoscopy businesses, said traditional duodenoscope’s require over 130 manual steps to be properly sterilized.
“We’ve seen with studies that come out of the FDA that even when the process is done with oversight and using what is thought to be best practices, one in 20 endoscopes that are thought to be patient ready, actually have a pathogen of concern on them,” he said.
“As a clinician, I’ve done thousands of these procedures in my practice,” he said. “Nobody wants to tell a patient that you’ve got one in 20 chances that the thing I’m going to use on you is contaminated.” The FDA gave its first approval to a disposable duodenoscope – Boston Scientific’s EXALT – in December.
Gonzalez offered an interesting hypothetical. If you were recreating the endoscopy practice today, “you would never have created that reusable model. You would never say buy a $200,000 tower with a $50,000 reusable scope and then let’s use chemicals to process it and, by the way, even with that it may not be fully sterile.”
Pierce said the company is bringing its “full force to bear” on the multiple constituencies in hospitals. “Obviously you want to have clinical support. you want to have support of the infection prevention team and, in some cases, C-suite folks get involved because it’s a different economic situation.
“We feel like we’re doing the right work” in meeting and answering questions. The company also recently got an important nod from CMS.
To hear more on this growing market listen to this week’s DeviceTalks Weekly podcast.
In addition, MassDevice’s Executive Editor Chris Newmarker will reveal this week’s #NewmarkersNewsmakers including Bardy Diagnostics, Kevin Hykes, COVID-19 Vaccine makers, Theranica, Joe Biden, Donald Trump and Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes.