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HL20: David Green—Disruptive Innovator Touches Millions of Lives

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, December 18, 2013

David Green might be the most disruptive force in medical devices today. Green's startup companies are revolutionizing the high-end hearing-aid market and the intraocular-lens market for correcting the vision of cataract patients.

This profile was published in the December, 2013 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

David Green might be the most disruptive force in medical devices today.

Green's startup companies are disrupting the high-end hearing-aid market and the intraocular-lens market for correcting the vision of cataract patients.

The truest form of Green's disruptive thinking is the way he proved it could be done profitably with broad implications for making medical devices more affordable for people who cannot afford them.

Green's achievements, featured on National Public Radio and elsewhere, originated in developing countries but are now coming to his native United States.

"I'm helping to set up an eye hospital in San Francisco that will take what we've learned in emerging markets and transfer it here to create a revenue model where the enterprise uses its profit and production capacity to serve uninsured Medi-Cal dual-eligible and undocumented" patients, Green says.

The story begins in 1992 when Green started Aurolab, a company dedicated to making price-busting intraocular lenses, sutures, and pharmaceuticals. The artificial lenses implanted during cataract surgery then cost $300. Countries such as India performed only 800,000 cataract surgeries annually. Working with Aravind Hospital in India, Aurolab initially offered a $10 artificial lens, and India's implant volume skyrocketed to 5 million in 2001. Today, the average price of the same implant is $3 to $4 and can be as low as $2.

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