Supplies market fracturing, poll respondents say

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Thursday, July 18, 2019

YARMOUTH, Maine – The closures of both a distributor and a provider of urological supplies are signs of a shifting marketplace, say respondents to a recent HME Newspoll.

The majority of respondents to the poll (67%) fear that product choice is becoming more limited in the wake of Peco Medical, which manufactured low-cost ostomy and other supplies, closing June 1.

“We used a lot of the PECO product line,” wrote one respondent. “It will be sad to see another distributor leave the market, especially one that brought affordable product to the industry.”

In 2016, Peco Medical was bought by Genairex. Last year, Genairex entered “a new relationship” with Hollister, which manufactures a variety of supplies, including Genairex’s Securi-T line of ostomy pouches.

Twenty two percent of respondents say UroMed’s closing on July 8 has led to an uptick in their catheter and urological supplies businesses.

“The market continues to grow and now there will be fewer providers to compete with,” wrote one respondent.

In 2014, UroMed was bought by AssuraMed, a company that already owned Edgepark Medical, Invacare Supply Group and Independence Medical. Cardinal Health owned AssuraMed.

Those providers left in the rapidly consolidating market find themselves increasingly competing with manufacturers and distributors that sell supplies direct-to-consumer.

“They are selling their products on Amazon at below actual retail pricing,” wrote one respondent. “The small to medium medical suppliers are losing customers that say the can get it cheaper on Amazon.”

At the end of the day, disposable medical supplies are a tough market to be in, say respondents.

“Between rising costs and reduced reimbursements, there simply is no margin left,” wrote one respondent. “Add to the mix cheap Chinese products and there is simply no way to stay in.”