The medical aesthetic field is experiencing significant growth, with an expected market valuation of billions by 2023. As the demand for non-invasive aesthetic procedures rises, physicians are increasingly enticed by medical laser devices. However, this industry is plagued by underhanded sales tactics and excessively priced equipment, leaving physicians at a loss.
The overpriced landscape of medical laser devices. Medical laser devices, although technologically advanced and effective, are notorious for their exorbitant prices. Physicians are often coerced into purchasing these devices, which cost several hundred thousand dollars, under the pretense of promising returns on investment (ROI).
The deceptive ROI mirage. Sales representatives often manipulate physicians by presenting a falsified ROI. They claim that selling a single procedure per month will cover the device’s cost. However, this ROI calculation is often flawed and misleading as it fails to consider other expenses such as consumables, financing, and maintenance.
The pressure sales tactics. Sales representatives of medical laser devices are notorious for their pressure tactics. They persistently disturb physicians and their office staff with incessant office visits, phone calls, and emails. However, once the purchase is made, the once-attentive salesperson is nowhere to be found, leaving physicians in a lurch.
The hidden costs of medical laser devices. The initial cost of the device is just the tip of the iceberg. Several hidden costs are associated with these devices that physicians need to be aware of.
Consumables: the recurring expense. Medical laser devices require consumables like lotions, handpiece covers, eye shields, and pads that need replacement after every use. These seemingly small expenses can quickly accumulate, adding to the overall cost of the device. It’s essential for physicians to consider devices designed with minimum upkeep and recycling in mind.
The burden of training costs. Proper training is crucial for the safe and effective use of any medical laser device. However, some manufacturers exploit this necessity by charging exorbitant fees for training after purchase. In some states, certification for personnel operating these devices is even mandatory.
The astonishing device costs. Many manufacturers charge an upfront cost ranging from $120K to $300K for new medical laser devices. They justify these costs by citing research and development, extensive trials for FDA approval, and insurance. However, it’s crucial for physicians to distinguish between genuinely high costs and price gouging.
The financing trap. Financing these devices can add an additional 50 percent to the total purchase cost. Many finance companies do not allow early payment of debt and will charge the full amount of interest even if the machine is paid off early. This can significantly inflate the total cost of the device.
The lure of the new model. Just as physicians finish paying off a device, manufacturers often release a new model. Physicians are then expected to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars again, trapping them in a vicious cycle of debt and expenditure.
The terrible warranty. Despite their astronomical costs, the warranty for these devices typically lasts only one year. This is considerably less than the warranties offered for houses or luxury cars, which are often priced similarly. This short warranty period leaves physicians vulnerable to high repair costs once the warranty expires.
The unreliable post-purchase support. Sales representatives often promise comprehensive post-purchase support. However, once the purchase is made, the salesperson often becomes unavailable, leaving physicians without the promised support.
Physicians as easy targets. Physicians are often at a disadvantage in this industry due to their lack of business expertise. Medical sales representatives exploit this vulnerability, using high-pressure sales tactics and deceptive ROI promises to coerce physicians into buying overpriced devices.
Navigating the medical laser device industry. It’s crucial for physicians to approach the medical laser device market with a discerning eye. Here are some questions that can help make an informed decision:
- Can a demo of the device be arranged before purchase?
- Are there any consumables required for the device?
- What types of patients can and can’t be treated by this device?
- Where is the device and its components manufactured?
- Is training charged separately, or is it included in the purchase cost?
- Is continuous training provided?
- What preventative maintenance is required for the device?
- What is the warranty for the device?
- What is the cost of servicing after the warranty ends?
- What kind of customer service can be expected post-purchase?
Emil Shakov is a general surgeon.