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Significant Events At Invacare – Consent Decree and ISG Disposal

Update Dec 27, 2012 – Invacare lays off 143 of 365 manufacturing workforce.

Update Dec 21, 2012 – US District Court Approves Invacare Corporations Consent Decree

The long awaited Consent Decree to “Resolve Allegations of Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act Violations” has been agreed subject to final court approval.

The Justice Department, at the request of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), today filed a complaint and a proposed consent decree in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio against Invacare Corp., Gerald B. Blouch and Ronald J. Clines. The complaint and proposed consent decree are being filed today in accordance with an agreement with the defendants resolving numerous allegations of violations of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA).

With some exceptions it means that:

Under the terms of the agreement reached with the government, the defendants cannot resume manufacturing power wheelchairs or conducting design activities related to wheelchairs and power beds at the two Ohio facilities until an independent expert inspects the company’s operations and certifies that the defendants are in compliance with the law. FDA can then evaluate that certification. Until FDA provides written notification that the facilities are in compliance with the law, they cannot resume operations.

While the company is not providing financial guidance right now they have disclosed that sales of those products in their prior 2011 revenues were $172 million and 9 months YTD sales of $114 million.

Invacare also announced shortly thereafter that it was selling it’s Invacare Supply Group to AssuraMed for $150 million.

Gerry Blouch, Invacare CEO said:

This divestiture represents a significant step forward for Invacare and it allows us to continue to reduce complexity in our business, focus on our core product lines and expand globally, with the long-term goal of returning operating margins back to high single digits.

Invacare notes it will be using it’s engineering resources to build out their global product lines and also hints at future selective acquisitions.


Is The Observer Maximus The Next Big Thing In Stair Climbing Wheelchairs?

Observer Climbing Stairs

The Observer Maximus may be what wheelchair users are looking for in a stair climbing wheelchair. The manufacturer, Observer Mobility from China claims the unique use of gyroscopes allows the user to remain in an upright seated position no matter what the terrain.

The video demonstrates this ease of climbing and descending stairs. Of note the wheelchair user faces uphill when climbing as did the IBOT.

Of course the Observer Maximus follows some excellent products in this area, including the IBOT which was unfortunately discontinued largely due to it’s high cost (lack of reimbursement).

We have also written about Topchair which continues to attract wheelchair users interest from around the world judging by the comments left on the post.

Observer Mobility is positioning their chair as a crossover chair and all terrain chair that has a very eco-friendly battery, silicone power battery reducing pollution and noise.

It can climb stairs to a maximum of 25 degrees, and descend slopes to a maximum of 45 degrees. This makes the chair suitable for curbs, various obstacles, beach and sand roads.

It has synchro seat adjusting gravity equipment, so the seat stays in the horizontal level all the times, making the user feel safe and comfortable when climbing stairs or slopes.

The manufacturer claims that the chair is patented.

The success of products like this depends to a large degree on the cost because most insurance companies and governments are not prepared to reimburse these products to a very high level. Neither are privately funded organisations who in most cases cannot afford higher levels of funding.

With this product being made in China that may help with the cost however Chinese wheelchair and homecare product costs have been steadily rising so that may not be the case. Time will tell.

Observer Mobility is seeking distributors in Europe.


Need To Know More About The French Homecare And Mobility Market – Hacavie

hacavieTogether with Germany and the UK, France makes up a large part of the European homecare business. We are frequently asked about information concerning France and often refer clients to the Hacavie (French) site. Hacavie is constituted under law 1901 and is a national documentation center, provides product reviews and assistance for people with special needs.

The website is very visual providing quick access to information which Google can easily help translate if necessary. The links they provide also provide access to the core of the French healthcare system as it relates to disability.



Innovative Video From DME Provider Medux In Holland

Medux (link in Dutch) is the umbrella group for major Dutch Homecare and mobility service provider companies: Hartingbank, Emcart, Ligtvoet and Vitalis.

In cooperation with Sunrise Medical, Permobil, Handicare and Invacare they have created a corporate video that balances the “I am alive” theme with discreet but effective product placement. The sponsor disclosure at the end of the video was refreshing.


Invacare’s Dynamic Controls Downsizing At New Zealand HeadQuarters

Charlotte Walshe, CEO of New Zealand based Dynamic Controls has announced that they are losing 40-60 jobs primarily in their contract manufacturing business due to a downturn of business.

Dynamic, an Invacare company, is a leading manufacturer of wheelchair control systems. Dynamic has already shifted that manufacturing to China (2007). Research and development continues to be based out of the New Zealand facility.

More here


Sunrise Medical Acquired By Equistone Partners Europe

Equistone has acquired Sunrise Medical, Mobility and Seating from Vestar – pending regulatory approval, which is expected to close year end.

Equistone is a European private equity group that sites Sunrise CEO Thomas Rossnagel’s management team and the companies growth potential as primary factors in the acquisition. Vestar had acquired Sunrise in 2000 and had subsequently split off the Joerns and DeVilbiss businesses.

Sunrise is an important global player and has a significant European and North American business. They continue to introduce innovative new products, the latest of these being their new mid-wheel drive power chair at the RehaCare trade event.

Equistone acquires Sunrise Medical (PDF)


German – Linde AG To Acquire US Lincare For $4.6 Billion

While several homecare companies continue to lament the onset of the national competitive bidding medicare program in the US, major German multinational Linde is in the process of getting into the US market.

So, perhaps, instead of the homecare industry trying to protect a legacy model with hundreds of millions of dollars in lobbying costs, they should rather be creative and investing in a new business model that is part of the future.

Linde despite being branded as a gas company has been directly involved in providing homecare respiratory services in it’s home country Germany through the delivery of liquid oxygen.

The lines between manufacturers and distribution are beginning to blur even further while old style legacy roles are challenged to be more efficient to serve the ever increasing homecare market.

German company Linde AG to acquire Lincare for $4.6 billion | HomeCare Magazine.