Drive Medical debuts CPAP

Sunday, August 31, 2008

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y.--Drive Medical saw a niche for a new, cheaper CPAP in markets beset by competitive bidding. Competitive bidding has been put off, but Drive’s CPAP is not.

The company in July rolled out the Celestia, its first product in the sleep market, positioned as a rival to Resmed and Respironics units at a price point that’s 10% lower, says Drive.

“When competitive bidding was a factor, we thought customers would be looking for a good quality machine at a better price point,” said Drive CEO Harvey Diamond. “But then, as we got into R&D, we thought we could produce one better than those on the market.”

The new 3.08-pound unit features a fully integrated heated humidifier; 30 dba at 10cmH2O operation, 10 ramp settings; and fully downloadable software.

“We are going to be calling on the HME dealers, as an alternative to the big two,” said Randy Rosen, Drive’s vice president of respiratory products. “We give them a unit that is one of the smallest in the industry-a one-piece unit that’s easy for traveling patients.”

Drive’s first CPAP unit is a monumental expansion for a company that’s made its mark as a low-priced provider of bent metal products. Drive entered the market several years ago with a nebulizer and has since broadened its portfolio to include pulse oximeters, suction machines and oxygen regulators.

Diamond says respiratory is already Drive’s fastest growing product category, a pace that’s likely to pick up when Drive debuts its first oxygen concentrator in August or September.