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HL20: David Green—Disruptive Innovator Touches Millions of Lives

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, November 25, 2013

"It created a whole price-competitive ophthalmic industry, not just for intraocular lenses, but for all the consumables and equipment used in ophthalmology," Green says. For instance, Aurolab's suture manufacturing lowered the cost of a box of ophthalmic suture from a "monopoly competitor" price of approximately $240 to Aurolab's $23.

Green's next startup, Sound World Solutions, has begun marketing an innovative, aggressively priced hearing aid developed by partner Stavros Basseas. The device will cost a couple hundred dollars, far less than comparable high-end hearing aids.

Now Green is about to market a high-end retinal imaging system, which usually costs around $22,000, for only $5,000 to serve low-income populations. This third company, Brien Holden Vision Diagnostics, will also bring to market a highly affordable device to detect and measure brain concussion, glaucoma, and various neurological disorders.

Although Green's innovations require plenty of inventions and patents, his real strength is in redesigning the supply chains that often add excessive margin at every step of bringing a medical device to market. By analyzing and reimagining these supply chains, Green targets ways to remove "non-value-added-margin" to keep products affordable.

"If you reach the low-income strata in a meaningful way, it increases the volume of people coming who pay the higher-margin prices, and that's what makes these programs viable and sustainable," Green says. "That's what enables them to generate the margin to be profitable and to be able to do cross-subsidization, so it's all kind of like a whole virtuous ecosystem, which is in marked contrast to the present non-virtuous ecosystems that you find in most medical ecosystems where basically you're trying to maximize return on investment at all costs."

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