Vendors look to retail to ‘open access’ to CPAP

Friday, January 10, 2014

BOSTON – A second manufacturer has entered the retail market for sleep therapy devices, banking on the idea that patients will buy what they want instead of settling for what an insurer will give them.

“Everything is driven by payers and, as a result, access for patients isn’t that good,” said Steve Moore, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Human Design Medical, maker of the Z1 CPAP device. “What we wanted to do is make a device that people like and want to use and, in doing so, open access for it.”

Human Design Capital launched the Z1 late last year, joining Somnetics and its Transcend in the retail market for sleep therapy devices. The Z1 weighs 10 ounces, delivers eight hours of therapy without external power, includes data-viewing software and works with any mask on the market.

While both companies are targeting the retail market and active patients with their small, lightweight devices, Human Design Capital has made the Z1 available only through four online retailers:,, and It’s also available, with a suggested retail price ranging from $675 to $1,079, directly through the company’s website,

“The patients are the ones who are underserved here,” Moore said.

Somnetics sells the Transcend through more than 600 providers, says President and CEO Clarence Johnson. He admits the response to the product among providers was “fractured” at first, but that’s why the company has developed marketing support programs.

“Here’s what we’re finding: The providers that merchandise the products in their stores and market—they do well selling the devices retail,” Johnson said. “Those who don’t, don’t do well.”

Human Design Capital, which is owned by a private investment firm called PBM Capital, hasn’t completely closed the door on insurance, Moore says.

“The price of the Z1 is not conducive to reimbursement, but there will be future products that will be,” he said.