Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Amedica - C'est La Vie

It was reported in various media outlets that Amedica (that dogg of a spine company), announced that it had added several new executive to its management team.  Even Lindsey Lohan hasn't gone through as many changes as this company has. The size of that management team should definitely help in shifting the direction of interbody devices, if not spiritually,  at least physically. Talk about a company with too many layers of management. Senior Vice President of Marketing, and then you have the Vice President of Marketing.  How many Vice Presidents does one company need. Isn't this the primary reason why nothing gets done in corporate America.  Layers upon layers of people, justifying their existence, covering their asses, and attempting to make themselves much more important than they really are.  Wasn't it yesterday, that Ben Shapely (sic) was going to take this company public?  That the company was going to raise all this capital to take the company to the next level?  That silicon nitride ceramic was going to reshape the world of the interbody market?  What does one expect?  Miracles?

It has been five years since its birth, one acquisition, an infusion of investor capital, and TSB must ask the proverbial question, "where's the beef."  By the looks of things, its on the management team.  It really doesn't get any funnier than when Eric T. Olsen is quoted as saying, "this is a momentous time for us as we expand our leadership team (LOL) and gain extensive expertise and insights to further our business strategy."  So TSB must ask another question, "why, at this moment in time will it be any different than the last five years Eric?"  The leadership capabilities of some of those named individuals leads much to the interpretation of how Mr. Olsen defines leadership.  With Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy and Bashful on the leadership team, the jury is still out on this dogg of a spine company, but as Chuck once sang,

It was a teenage wedding and the old folks wished them well
You could see that Pierre did truly love the Mademoiselle
And now the young monsieur and madame have rung the chapel bell
C'est La Vie, say the old folks it goes to show that you never can tell

See you in another five years Amedica because your time has come and gone.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Fixx: One Thing Leads to Another

On January 23rd, it was reported that Thomas Guerrieri, the former VP of Sales at Orthofix was sentenced to eight months in prison and ordered to pay a fine of $20,000 and forfeit $30,000.  In April Mssr. Guerrieri pled guilty to paying kickbacks to two separate healthcare professionals in violation of the Medicare AntiKickback Laws.  In October of 2012 Brian Racy pled guilty to filing $250,000 in false Medicare Claims and is due to be sentence this coming month potentially spending a minimum of 8 years in prison if he gets the book thrown at him.  For those of our readers that lack knowledge of jurisprudence, a federal sentence results in at least 80% time served.  In July of last year, "the Fixx" as they are better known in the industry incurred $7.4 million in disgorged profits and fines relating to another bribery charge related to business in Mexico. As recent as two weeks ago Derrick Field, an Orthofix Manager from 2005 thru 2011 received a sentence of five months of home confinement as part of his 2 year probationary sentence, a gift from U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Tauro.

TSB must ask our readers, "is there something in the water in McKinney, Texas?"  Could Orthofix be spell bound by the Blackstone Curse?  Why is it that people in this industry are so greedy? There's plenty of gold in 'em hills for everyone to make a respectable living, yet, it is our avarice that makes our humanity so frail.  And then you wonder why Big Brother comes knocking on your door?  But the bigger question that must be posed to our readers is, how did the DOJ drop the ball on the Senior Executives that were responsible for running this company during the aforementioned culprits tenure at The Fixx?  Is anyone going to honestly say that the executives in charge had no inkling that the Slim Shady was in?  For those in sales management, it would be safe to assume that the red lights or better yet, neon lights go off when sales no longer grow exponentially to market conditions and start to blow out the roof.  Does anyone believe that those in charge did not know anything that was going on?  But maybe there is a lesson to be learned from this experience. The only people that get screwed are the little guys, because eventually the paper trail leads to you, while the big boys cover their asses. And in the end the government never prosecutes CEO's who place their hand on the bible and swear to God, by using the Sargent Schultz defense, "I know nothing!"

The impression that you sell, passes in and out like a scent
But the long face that you see comes from living close to your fears
If this is up, then I'm up, but you are running out of sight
You've seen your name on the walls, And when one little bump leads to shock miss a beat
You run for cover and there's heat, why don't they do what they say, say what they do


Friday, January 11, 2013

Rust Never Sleeps - Aurora Borealis

Aurora, the ancient goddess of a new dawn, a radiant emission from the atmosphere, a web browser, the name of many a restaurants, a city in central Codorado, the city of brotherly love, a new spine company?  That's right fellow bloggers, recently the spine world gave birth to another atmospheric emission of luminous bands caused by charged solar particles.  It's truly amazing what happens when you create a hole through the ozone layer.  By the looks of things Carlsbad may be the next Silicon Valley, n'est ce pas?  After reading about Aurora and listening to some of our readers comments in private emails to TSB one can only marvel at this compilation of spine retreads, you know the slang definition of a retread is someone or something representing older times, especially when they are deemed passé.  Yet, TSB must admit that if you are going to start another venture, why not Carlsbad? The beach is nearby, the golf courses are lush and neatly manicured and if all else fails at least you got a taste of paradise.  At this juncture in spine, TSB believes that everyone should be given the opportunity to start a company based on a mission statement that includes being pro-active, would we all love to meet the people that invested in this Trojan Horse, more in the computing sense the the mythological.

Sixteen to Seventeen products, new biologics on the horizon, who knows the sky is the limit. Yet, upon carefully reviewing these products, in lumbar alone there were 12 products that had no pictures, and had not yet been approved by the FDA.  WTF?  In addition the word "volt" was used so many times that TSB started to believe we were going to get a menu link to one of Bryan or Michael Voltaggio's restaurants. So TSB has to ask our readers, is this what they are teaching in business graduate schools across America? The internet is a wonderful conduit, but it makes you wonder how shallow have we truly become?  Forget about the readers, how about the investors? SUCKERS!  "Does this company have any actual products available?" How does one recruit distributors without product?  We didn't see any products named "Stealth" on their website. Louis Armstrong use to sing about seeing skies of blue and clouds of white, bright blessed days and dark sacred nights, and you think to yourself, what a wonderful world.  And then, you wake up and all of a sudden you're living in Neil Young's head singing,

"My, my, hey, hey, the crazy world of spine is here to stay,
it's better to burn out than to fade away, my, my, hey, hey
Rust Never Sleeps!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Year of the Snake

Spine Nation:

Happy New Year!  It's another Tequila Sunrise here in Blogger's or Sunnyville. As we enter 2013, aka the Year of the Snake, ahem CEO, questions abound regarding the looming medical device tax and how it will affect innovation and technology in the spine market and healthcare, leaving many in a state of uncertainty.  Recently, one of the funniest things that we heard was that DPS (DePuy) had informed its sales reps that somehow, somewhere, sometime soon in the near future, the company was set to pass the medical device tax increase in the form of lower commissions to its sales force.  Whether this is true or simply rumor can only be validated by our readers comments.  It leaves us wondering, why haven't any of the oracles that run these companies sat down and discussed the concessions that they intend on making with regards to their compensation packages? Alex Lukianov? David Paul? Mikael Orsinger? Kevin Lobo?  C'est moi? Je ne said q'uoi. How many of you have been subjected to meetings where some financial analyst or consultant is predicting the demise of the industry due to the device tax? OMG, after all these years of complicity in raping the healthcare system, making astronomical profits, cashing out their stock options and fattening their wallets, heaven forbid that anyone have to tighten their belts (wasn't that a Reagan slogan of snorts) and inform their shareholders that sacrifices will have to be made by the shareholders themselves in lieu of advancing medical innovation? But no, that's not what we are hearing. Let's lay off some poor schlepp. Let's cut commissions, hey I have a better idea let's predict that we are going to grow 20% in today's marketplace. If there is any truth to the aforementioned rumor, why is it the salespersons fault for lack of preparation and implementation by companies when it comes the medical device tax? Why is it that sales people and manufacturing pay the price for poor execution?  Hey Mr. CEO, ever hear of competing in a ZERO SUM MARKET?  Remember how corporations reacted to the potential of the Y2K virus? The sky was falling! Software consultants were hired in anticipation of a meltdown.  Companies held meetings a year in advance in anticipation of losing their data and logistics. Today, the head AdvaMed, aka Topo Gigio, declares that it will cost the medical device industry more than $600 million (US) to implement the medical device tax and that 62% of companies are saying that they will lay off and reduce hiring to offset the cost.  Mr. Gigio as TSB likes to call him, stated that Congress needs to tax action before January 1, 2013.  That time has come and gone. If any of our readers haven't noticed, Congress is run like many of your companies, everything is done at the last second, and by the looks of things, Congress can't even get out of its own way.  In spite of differing opinions, TSB believes that the financial onus that will be placed on some of the smaller companies within the industry will result in a cleanse. Yes Siree Bob, it's time to sing Happy Trails to some of these lingering misfits. Maybe it will rid us of some of those companies that continue to do nothing more than commoditize the market with more "me too" products.  The vision of some of these companies has come and gone a long time ago.  Today, most start up spine companies are glutting the market with more crap.  For those that survive, they will learn how to manage their finances with discretion considering that there are companies out there that haven't introduced any new innovation or technologies and have burned through incredible amounts of investment capital with nothing to show. How ridiculous is it for anyone to want to invest $20-25 million in a company to generate $4 million in sales over a five year period?  Or to have established a company nearly ten years ago and generate $ 7 million in sales, whereby most of the revenue comes from your surgeon investors.  Just think of what life would be like without some of those companies?

What the industry really needs is a cleanse that will rid us of some of these companies and will effect the livelihood of some of the most unscrupulous and unethical people that any industry has ever seen.  Until're just actors in another Bogart movie.  Happy New Year!