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The price is right

The price is right 3B Medical brings lower-cost alternative to sleep therapy market

LAKE WALES, Fla.- 3B Medical thinks its timing couldn't be better. The company, which late last year became the North American sales arm for BMC Medical, a Beijing-based manufacturer of CPAP devices and other sleep therapy products, believes it has the answer to Medicare's whopping 47% cut, on average, for that product category as part of Round 2 of competitive bidding. Here's what Susan Craig, sales manager, had to say about how 3B Medical plans to shake things up with a lower-cost alternative, something that, until now, has been missing from the sleep therapy market.

HME News: 3B Medical is a start-up, but BMC has been around for a while, right?

Susan Craig: BMC started in sleep diagnostics (polysomnography equipment) in the mid- to late 1990s and entered the sleep therapy market (CPAP, Auto-CPAP and Bi-level CPAP devices) in 2007.

HME: What was the motivation behind forming 3B Medical and the company's decision to sell BMC's CPAP devices in the United States?

Craig: The CPAP market is a huge market and it's underpenetrated. We thought we could bring their devices in and sell them here as a quality device at a good price point.

HME: I read somewhere that 3B Medical offers CPAP devices that are 30% to 40% less expensive than those of the leading manufacturers in this space. How are you able to do that?

Craig: We don't have high overhead. If you look at a Respironics or a ResMed, they're huge companies. We don't have an R&D budget—BMC does that. We don't have a sales staff—they're independent reps under contract. We don't have a huge marketing budget—it's more of a grassroots effort.

HME: You've covered price; now talk about quality.

Craig: What marks our line is that even our most basic model is full featured with our proprietary RESlex technology, which allows exhalation relief for easy breathing. The iCode is another feature. It's a button on the device that you press to get a value that you plug into a web site to get compliance data.

HME: 3B Medical's timing is good, with the Round 2 payment amounts set to take effect July 1.

Craig: Absolutely. Things are moving along for the company progressively, positively and exponentially. We're seeing a lot of interest right now and we expect that to only increase in July. To stay in business, providers have to look at alternatives to the more expensive devices out there.


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