Special report: A brittle market for used bone densitometers

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Special report: A brittle market for used bone densitometers

May 23, 2011
This report originally appeared in the May 2011 issue of DOTmed Business News

By Kathy F. Mahdoubi

The past decade has brought with it a major shift not only in sales of new bone densitometers, but also for used systems. Brokers and dealers throughout the country are faced with a number of challenges including market saturation and fierce competition from OEMs.

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John Pereira, CEO of United Medical Technologies, says the market is flat for the most part, but not primarily due to economic challenges.

“From 1995 until 2002 the market was fantastic,” says Pereira. “It was the best growth period, but the last two or three years have been flat, because everyone already has a bone densitometer. The market is flooded.”

[Bone Densitometry market on the mend. Read it here]

David Denholtz, CEO of BoneDensitometers.com, says business has definitely seen better days, but the market it still doing fairly well.

“Business has been holding steady, maybe up a bit,” says Denholtz. “It’s not what it was three or four years ago, but it’s still pretty good.”

Lower demand overall and more attractive prices for new systems combined with diminished Medicare reimbursement may be keeping the used market relatively locked up, but Tony Orlando, president of Complete Medical Services, says the recent reimbursement relief from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services could provide a better prognosis, if coupled with further penetration of the private sector.

“Reimbursement is still much lower than it was a few years ago, so the biggest challenge is getting systems into smaller, low-volume facilities, but this is very important from a point-of-care standpoint,” says Orlando.

Orlando has seen new growth in his business as a result of more aggressive marketing techniques and expanded business overseas. Denholtz is also selling bone densitometers across Latin America and Eastern Europe, as well as the Middle East, Australia and closer to home in Canada.

Pereira is confident the replacement market will also trigger an uptick in sales. As hospitals and practices replace their older systems, more bone densitometers offering fan-beam technology, which can take a four to 10 minute scan down to 30 seconds, will enter the used market and potentially attract new buyers.

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