Philips to drop UltraFill

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Friday, August 31, 2018

MURRYSVILLE, Pa. – Philips plans to discontinue its UltraFill Home Oxygen System, in another nod by the company to portable oxygen concentrators as the preferred form of therapy.

Philips has confirmed that it will stop selling the system, which includes a stationary oxygen concentrator, a filling station and high-capacity 3,000 PSI cylinders, by the end of this year.

“With the evolution of the oxygen marketplace, customer demand has shifted to portable oxygen concentrators as the primary choice for non-delivery oxygen models,” Philips said in a statement to HME News. “POCs can clinically and cost effectively serve the needs of patients and DME providers. Therefore, this decision allows us to invest our primary focus on solutions that our customers are demanding. Our SimplyGo and SimplyGo Mini POCs serve those needs.”

Philips says it plans to service the UltraFill for a minimum of five years after discontinuation.

The decision isn’t popular with providers who aren’t yet sold on POCs and who are relying on transfilling systems to minimize their delivery costs.

“We did a ton of analysis on how to restructure how we dispense oxygen, and we found (transfilling systems) were the most economical and required the least patient touches,” said one provider who asked not be named. “Plus, we’ve had problems with every POC we’ve tried—they’re just not durable enough for how people use them.”

This provider will probably move to Invacare’s Homefill Oxygen System, but that product won’t suit all the needs of their patients.

“The UltraFill is the only system on the market with 3,000 PSI,” the provider said.

Provider Woody O’Neal says he understands why Philips is doubling down on POCs, but he doesn’t understand why that has to mean discontinuing the UltraFill. While he’s ramping up his POC business, he also has more than $1 million invested in transfilling systems.

“It’s a bold move (for Philips),” he said.

The news that Philips plans to discontinue the UltraFill comes on the heels of the company’s decision* to start selling the SimplyGo and SimplyGo Mini for cash on its website, www.COPDinfo.com.

“I have no problem with that, and anyone who criticizes that is not embracing what’s happening in the market,” O’Neal said. “Let everyone advertise POCs for you, and when they show up at your door, be prepared to sell it. We sold three Inogen units this week for retail. It’s our No. 1 retail item.”

Philips stands by its belief that POCs are patient preferred and cost effective.

“We often hear great stories from those individuals using our POCs about how life changing a SimplyGo Mini can be, allowing them to travel on vacation with their family for the first time since they were prescribed oxygen,” the company said in the statement. “For a DME provider, POCs have proven to provide a way to efficiently serve the patients by potentially eliminating costly visits to the home. We believe that POCs will continue to provide tremendous value for DMEs to efficiently serve their patients and improve the patient experience with their oxygen therapy.”

http://www.hmenews.com/article/philips-shakes-respiratory-business