J&J quits manual assist business

Sunday, November 14, 2004

November 15, 2004

WARREN, N.J. -  Independence Technologies, the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary that’s rolling out the iBot power wheelchair, is pulling the plug on its iGlide manual assist wheelchair.
“The decision has been made to cease marketing and selling the iGlide,” said Jeff Leebaw, a J&J spokesman. “It’s a case of the company placing it’s strategic focus and resources on the iBot, really to focus on its core product line.”
Last summer, J&J issued a voluntary recall to repair a problem discovered during routine laboratory testing. At that time, the company had sold 36 iBots.
Leebaw declined to reveal the number of iGlide units sold since the product’s introduction last year. The company plans to honor all product warranties and continue servicing the product line for up to five years.
Independence initially planned to sell its iGlide direct to the consumer. Those efforts may have backfired. At Medtrade Spring, Independence exhibited its products to HME suppliers and began the development of a dealer base.
Some rehab suppliers say manual assist chairs like the iGlide, priced at $7,900, is a tough sell.
“They look really neat, but we didn’t see a whole lot of movement on them,” said Will Dolan, managing director of Chair & Equipment Rental & Sales in Charlotte, N.C. “People just weren’t buying them.”