CPAP manufacturers go small to go big

ResMed, Philips seek to unlock ‘pent-up demand’ for travel devices
 - 
Friday, May 5, 2017

SAN DIEGO and AMSTERDAM – By launching travel CPAPs within weeks of each other in April, the two biggest names in sleep therapy, ResMed and Royal Philips, have started a race to grow a market for the devices.

Here’s what officials from those two companies had to say about how they plan to unlock “pent-up demand” for their newest and smallest devices.

Why now?

“We learned through consumer research of an increasingly apparent balancing act (patients) faced between traveling with a cumbersome CPAP device or missing therapy altogether when they left home,” said Mark D’Angelo, business leader, sleep, at Philips, maker of the DreamStation Go. “Additionally, studies continue to emerge showcasing the boomerang effect of even short-term therapy withdrawal. It was very important to us that we solve these problems.”

How big is the market?

“Anecdotally, there’s a lot of pent-up demand for a travel CPAP,” said Jim Hollingshead, president, ResMed Americas, maker of the AirMini. “If you scale it and consider that 60 million to 70 million pass through domestic airports every month, and you consider the prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea and that 25% or so of adults have it—that’s tens of millions of trips that could benefit from a travel CPAP.”

What’s your advantage?

“(The DreamStation Go) has the fewest components, and features a built-in power supply and USB charging portal, while offering the same clinically proven therapy as our standard sized devices,” D’Angelo said. “(It also) marks the debut of our 12mm micro-flexible tubing, our smallest yet.”

“There are several advantages to the AirMini, including its small size (0.66 pounds and 5.4 x 3.3 x 2 inches),” Hollingshead said. “It’s also available with waterless humidifcation, which essentially capture’s a patient’s exhaled heat and moisture with a humidifier in the mask tube and redelivers it to them.”

Why stress retail?

“It’s an opportunity to introduce and promote innovative, life-enhancing products that might not otherwise be offered or promoted in the traditional reimbursed pathway,” D’Angelo said. “OSA patients have increasingly become more direct consumers of health care, and as insurance plans continue to shift toward high deductible plans, people are more apt to spend their own money on health care. Often, these asks are geared toward specialty items that allow them to lead more flexible lives, like the DreamStation Go.”

What’s your go-to-market strategy?

“We want to create benefits for the patient, but we also want to create a new line of business for all of our HME channel partners,” Hollingshead said. “Providers are increasingly looking to retail and the AirMini offers them a premium, high quality product that they can, in turn, offer to patients that they’re already servicing, allowing them to travel with their therapy.  So it’s a win for the HME channel and patients.”

“Philips is currently under a limited launch phase, releasing the DreamStation Go to select providers that specialize in retail DME and who do not work with insurance providers,” D’Angelo said. “This will allow us to garner a stronger understanding of the cash-pay dynamic and measure consumer acceptance of the DreamStation Go before we make the product more widely available. Philips will be moving quickly to discover key learnings about the dynamic of working outside the payer reimbursement model and plans to roll the product out to other customers in Q2 of this year.”