View Full Version : Freehand and VoCare taken off market
10-24-2001, 01:54 PM
Just received a letter from Neurocontrol announcing that due to poor sales and rising costs they are no longer going to offer either the Freehand FES or VoCare FES systems.
Apparently they will still be available in Europe (different manufacturer there) and Neurocontrol promises to continue to provide support to those who already have these systems implanted.
Considering the recent heavy marketing push on these products from the company, this came as a surprise to me. It will be interesting to see if another company steps in to try to take on this lucritive (although small) market.
10-24-2001, 08:38 PM
KLD, I am really shocked by this announcement. The withdrawal from the US market means that this company is in deep financial problems, enough so that they have decided that they cannot maintain their offices and sales force in the U.S. This is too bad because the company is a very good one and I think that they have a promising product. Both devices are approved by the FDA. I wonder what precipitated this? This must also come as a huge blow the the FES group at Case Western which I consider to be the best in the United States. If I find anything out, I will post the information. Wise.
10-25-2001, 06:21 AM
My understanding is the Neurocontrol (the company) is NOT closing, but they have chosen not to support the production or sales of these two products anymore. They do have other products, and according to the letter intend to make more.
I think they just way underestimated the market for such specialized and expensive devices. In Europe for example the VoCare version there is used on people with MS and incomplete injuries. Here the FDA licensed it only for those with complete SCI. This significantly reduces your market pool. It was purely a financial decision from what the letter I received stated.
I think that hope took them off the market. I can see where the Freehand system would be a wonderful thing for those with no hand or lower arm function. But I think those most likely to want these will have been injured awhile and have problems with getting their insurance or medicaid/Medicare to pay for the after care therapy to learn to use it correctly.
As far as Vocare, studies now show that even complete women have some sexual ability and the thought of giving up that is a problem. And for incompletes...well, when a doctor listed it as an option for bladder management for me I looked at him like Frankenstein. That would mean crushing perfectly good nerves and that is not reversible.
And on an overall basis, I think people are saving their money and energy for the curative therapies that are supposed to be right on the horizon.