Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Breaking News

Yes fellow bloggers, last week Medtronic announced at the AANS meeting that they have seen the future, and intend on increasing revenue for fiscal 2011 by launching one of the most innovative and technological medical devices the spine industry has seen in decades.  Where's Monte Hall and Jay Stewart when you need them.   RIP Jay. What's behind Door Number 3 Doug King?  What's behind that Big Box?  Do you want Door Number 3, or maybe Door Number 2?  So what is this breakthrough technology that took over twelve years of clinical history by combining not one, but two emerging technologies into one unique and innovative product?  Come on bloggers I know you're sitting on the edge of your seats, if you haven't already heard.  They are going to launch another anterior cervical plate.  If one looked in the dictionary under the word cannibalization, one would see the entire portfolio of Medtronic Anterior Cervical Plates, did they ever phase out the Orion?   Spine nation the new plate might as well have been named the Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Plating System.  Times must be tough at the Big M marketing department when you name the plate, Atlantis Vision "Elite" Anterior Cervical Plating System.  I could hear Donovan, aka Donovan Leitch, singing in the background and let me exercise some poetic license:

"Knowing its fate, Atlantis sent out sales reps, to all corners of the spine world
On board was the manager, the sales rep, the physician, the magician and the other
so-called Gods of our industry, though the Gods they were and as the elders of our
time choose to remain blind, let us rejoice and let us sing and dance and ring in the new
HAIL ATLANTIS....................................................................................................
WAY DOWN BELOW THE OCEAN WHERE I WANNA BE, SHE WILL BE

How gullible can customers really be?  Ooh where's all the analysts' clamoring to upgrade Medtronic's stock on the launch of another cervical plate and a Chromaloy Rod, and by the way don't forget to emphasis the "Plus."  Is it TSB or is it Memorex?

51 comments:

  1. Its just a culmination of previous Atlantis plates that will let the physician use various plates in the Atlantis family with the same instrumentation. I don't think it was intended to make a big splash, just keep loyal Atlantis customers happy by combining the latest locking mechanism and graft window along with some slick instruments that were not in the original set. The prior locking mechanism worked fine but could be a bit of a pain in the butt and there never really was a good DTS guide for the "original" Atlantis... just a few items addressed with the new version.

    I work for MSB and have since the Orion plate was around (yes it was phased out long ago). Atlantis has been by far the best selling plate in the history of ACDF's across the board to include all companies. It wasn't broke, they didn't fix it, they polished it... end of story.

    TSB, is it true you have a deep seeded hatred for MSB? Enlighten us all as to why you will scrape the sides of the can to come up with anything you can to paint them in a bad light... just curious?

    To summarize, this was never intended to be an "earth shattering" product launch and LOL @ you for pulling that out of your keister.

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  2. Okay, this maybe lame but if you worked at MSD and then still work at MDT. How is it that twice you refer to them as MSB. Just curious.

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  3. MDT = Medtronic
    MSD = Medtronic Sofamor Danek
    MSB = Medtronic's Spinal & Biologics business (officially it's not "Medtronic Spine & Biologics" it's the "Spinal & Biologics" division of Medtronic - doublespeak, I know.)

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  4. Danek releases a line extension..oh wow - what crooks...this post goes right up there with that TSB post about the PEEK lab that the BIG BLUE MONSTER was supposedly planning, which turned out to not actually be a PEEK lab (and all those trips to Platinum that were planned with it, which by the way, also never happened since platinum has been closed for years)...Okay. Michael Jackson didn't come over to my house to use the bathroom. He was about to. But his sister did.

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  5. There is room for improvement on all medical devices and we should constantly be updating and perfecting them. I wish Alphatec would perfect their Trestle plate, they have a problem with the screws backing out. The only thing keeping their screws in the plate are the trachea and esophagus. I have seen 7 cases so far. I commend MDT for updating and refreshing their systems, ALL companies should be doing it.

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  6. I've heard the same about Alphatec's Trestle. It's been a problem for years. Why haven't they fixed it yet??? Companies should be more liable for knowingly selling a faulty product.

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  7. Did anyone ever think this post is just mocking how ridiculous we have become as an industry., How many plates has MSD launched, if they haven't gotten it right by now, then one has to feel for their pain. As for "deep seeded" hatred, you would make a terrible analyst, its more like TSB is a cynic. As for updating a plate, that's smoke and mirrors. How much thinner can the plate get, how much faster can the plate be inserted, how much better can the instruments get, need to have better graft visibility? Spare us the marketing BS. Which consultant needed to justify their existence. As for the Trestle, maybe if some spine companies made it mandatory to send their engineers into surgery to actually learn something about surgery, they would be able to fix their problems. JMO, oh and by the way your quota just went up.

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  8. I didn't know Jim Trestle had a plate - I thought he was just into tattoos, cover-ups and recruiting thugs....er student athletes.

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  9. Medtronic boys, chill out you sound more like a bunch of little girls that need to get bitch slapped every once in a while, you've got to love working for a company that intends on "letting go" 1,500-2,000 American employees and then hiring another 1,500 overseas. Can you cry out for some more tax breaks, America love it or send you manufacturing and jobs overseas.

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  10. 4:04 is spot-on with his cynic comment.

    It's important to point out the obvious slow down of innovation and lack of leadership in the industry today. MSB (as the not really a rep called it above)is the so called leader in the industry and hence should be held up for all to see.
    What you should really be focusing on is that they ARE out in front of the market...in their behavior. They're into protecting their ASSets. Naming a schill of a leader with a track record of missing objectives, reducing bottom line expenses and merging existing technologies costs very little to do and allows them to preserve and maintain. Commissions will be next as they hunker down and wait out the ride to emerge as the leader of the new commodity spine market they are helping to shape. Watch the smaller players self-destruct, acquire whatever worthy IP they have and shed the high paid reps and distributors. The curtain is opening on the great an powerful OZ.
    Look carefully at the company you are with and what value they actually bring and you will know if you will have a chance of being around in 3 years.
    Otherwise, I hope you aren't living above your means!
    Take note; The future has arrived.

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  11. TSB-That's the best use of that song since Scorcese used it in Goodfellas.

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  12. criticizing "innovation of the industry" for making small improvements is a bit overboard. IF your company ain't making small improvements, you won't have to worry about commission %'s. Implant designs typically do evolve from clinical results, surgeon feedback, and regulatory constraints. What's changed is that nobody's paying an extra 20% for these tweaks like they used to.

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  13. Because JP Timm is a moron! Supposed to be out in 2010 and now I'm hearing late 2011. They are outright bums! What the hell goes on in SD is beyond me! Someone from atec care to shed some light on this unacceptable way of doing business? Bums!

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  14. Many good points here.

    The market has changed drastically. You are better off consolidating technologies into one well rounded product if you can and Medtronic is doing just that. First Atlantis classic, then Atlantis Vision and Finally Atlantis Translational. Combine all of the good things and make the instruments universal and you have a winner, shouldn't be too hard to understand?

    "How gullible can customers really be? "
    This line is ruh-tard-ed.

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  15. Synthes did this years ago with Vectra.

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  16. Pretty gullible!

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  17. How can MSDs customers be gullible they're all paid consultants they'll use anything and everything.

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  18. Speaking of consultants...
    What are the Spine Blogger readers best guess as to the percentage of spine surgeons that are loyal to any given company due to either consulting relationships or ownership in a POD? What percentage of spine surgeons are profiting in some manner from industry?

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  19. I'll bet it's 15% or less nationwide. Of course, there are geographies where it is (or at least seems to be) closer to 100%.

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  20. We represent Medtronic Spine. I enjoy reading this blog and get some great laughs at some of the good (and bad) natured lampooning many contributors dish on each other and various companies, including "Big Blue". However, I have to weigh in on this crap about all Medtronic customers being bought and paid for. We manage a geography with over 220 spine surgeons. We are growing in a tough market and our market share exceeds Medtronic's US share. We battle PODs, brother/sister/best friend/girl friend/mistress reps. Only two surgeons in our geography receive any payments from Medtronic and the total is under $10,000 combined for participation in medical education activities. Not trying to be holier than thou, but as a group that has strived to take the high road in all dealings, it pisses me off when these gross generalizations about Medtronic are thrown about so cavalierly. Thank you.

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  21. 11:48, you probably base this on the Physician Registry list. (http://www.medtronic.com/about-medtronic/physician-collaboration/physican-registry/index.htm). To a very old old-timer in the field, this list looks incomplete, and certainly does not capture the (recent) past.

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  22. 11:48AM - If you are a representative for Medtronic, then you can not ethically know how much is paid to surgeons...

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  23. 12:18- Excellent point!!

    In the voice of the Munchkins from OZ: "We represent the Lollipop Guild er... ..MSD"

    And in the voice of Coach Mora: "Ethics...
    ..Ethics.... ....Ethics?"

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  24. 10:50--Janet or Latoya?

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  25. Hey 12:18, what am I missing? Why not?

    If consulting agreements and their value are obliged to be disclosed at meetings, to the general public, and to patients, why wouldn't the rep that calls on him every day know?

    Why would being paid for services provided to the company, independent of business they are generating, be mutually exclusive with the rep knowing about it?

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  26. Any indication this "new" anterior cervical plate gets MDT out of contracted prices for the newly obsolete versions?

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  27. I put in one Great Decade with Big Blue.
    Now home again at Globus with people who know how to fight and can win with innovative products.
    We are 'Winning'
    I agree with TSB in that MSD has been shining up Turds and spraying them down with 'Doug King cologne' for the last five years.
    It's still big giant Turd no matter how u spin the release of a new cervical plate and a chrome alloy rod.
    MSD or MSB, whatever they call themselves right now, I pray for one thing.
    I pray that Doug King never leaves, keeps being promoted and runs the spinal unit further into the dirt. He is so out of touch at every step of the way.
    Mr. King,
    Thank you.
    Please don't go.....


    Mr. King ( Howdy Doodie ) is the best thing for my business and that of every spinal implant sales rep that competes with Medtronic.

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  28. Did 4:47am really say Globus is winning?? He must be in the marketing dept for them, give me a break dude.

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  29. What are larger and smaller companies paying commissions these days?

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  30. I don't think the employees they hire overseas are exempt from taxes! I think they are hiring overseas because those markets are growing and the American market is not.

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  31. 7:20
    Most companies are paying around 50% with some added kickers for quota attainment. If your getting anything less than 45% your getting screwed. Remember to hold firm in your negotiations! They will come around.

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  32. ... 9:57 you are out of your mind! Only 50? If I was getting that I'd be barely scraping by after greasing the skids that need it. No way. 60's rock bottom for me.

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  33. 25% to distributors

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  34. good question !

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  35. 65% - 70%
    You can get that if you got the business. Way more money than setting up a POD.

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  36. Can a distributor run their own consulting deals?

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  37. 4:03, hells yeah!

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  38. Can they (legally and ethically), or do they? The first question depends on the service the doc is providing the distributor and is being paid commensurately for. What would that be?

    Do they? I know of at least one that does.

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  39. We're going to kick all of your asses with Solera and Vision Elite. In two years sales from either these two products will be bigger than the wanna be/me too companies that most of you other spine reps work for. Bank on it.

    In a few years we big Legacy companies are going to put the rest of you out of business. We work in an industry that has 100+ companies. Our scale will crush you as prices continue to decline.

    Time to start thinking about changing careers wannabees!

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  40. 5:11
    Ha ha. Thanks for the sarcasm. I feel your pain buddy, it's always good to vent. Tough go I know right now but I'm know we'll come up with some great new products soon. I still believe in the power of blue. Don't bash the little guys too much since anyone of them with real solid technology will probably be picked off by us in the long run. Hang in there! DK has us covered.

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  41. when 4:47 says Globus is "winning" all I can think of is Charlie Sheen on TV, maniacally saying "winning". If that's winning, I'd rather be losing.

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  42. A viable company can not sustain paying over 40% to the distributors over the long haul. If they do, they will have limited resources.

    If you do choose to go with a high paying % company, be prepared to get your doc to change again when they are back ordered, no trays available, slow paying commissions, etc.

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  43. 9:58 Agreed, no high pay for the long haul.
    Heard this happened at Lanx last year with former VP Sales, prob led to his dismissal when time to pay up 50%+comm.

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  44. (Heard that)Zimmer Spine had multiple lay-offs and shut down offices in NJ and Switzerland. Any word?

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  45. zimmer spine is no mas. adios amigos

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  46. They've been trying to find a VP Sales for over 6 months. Any takers?

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  47. My sources tell me many laid off in Texas and Minneapolis. ZS is a train wreck, especially with Graveline in charge

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  48. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  49. Graveline hasn't done near as much damage as Paulsen, Kirkpatrick, and Watts. Graveline is trying to clean up the mess those three created destroyed what little morale is left inside the company and in the sales force. Nobody trusts anyone in that organization. Zimmer Spine is slowly killing itself.

    Look around . . . there are no Zimmer Spine distributors that are solely focused on Zimmer Spine. They all have other businesses or other spine lines to supplement that aging portfolio of products.

    It's 2011 ... Dvorak stood in front of the sales force in 2007 and said "we'll be a $750 MILLION dollar franchise by 2010" For further reading go to the yahoo message boards for ZMH and read the "Morale" thread ... this "morale" theme seems to permeate throughout this once proud company.

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  50. I'd say Medtronic got it right with Atlantis, they have probably sold more Atlantis plates in the last 13 years than all the others combined. As for Trestle, I know everybody's experience is different, but I have sold hundreds in the past couple of years and had zero backout with several different surgeons implanting. I sold several thousand Atlantis plates in a previous life and had a few back out, but that is to be expected. Vectra, Vuelock, Reflex have all seen way more than their share of backed out screws. That probably had more to do with the reps not understanding and teaching proper technique than it does with locking mechanisms. But reps are of no value according to many of you sploggers.

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