4 Ways to Get Rid of Non-Moving Surgical Disposables and Make Money, Too

An estimated $150 million worth of surgical disposables — no longer expected to be used — are sitting on the shelves of ambulatory surgery centers, hospitals and other facilities, says Gary Van Meer, founder of Palm Harbor Medical, a wholesale medical reseller of surgical supplies in Tarpon Springs, Fla.


These non-moving items start gathering dust when surgeons want to use a newer surgical device or when the surgeon who asked for them no longer uses the facility, Mr. Van Meer says. When shelf space is at a premium, they cannot just sit there. Also, they have expiration dates that are drawing nearer. "You can't just wait with disposables," he says. "Expiration-dating is always working against you."


Here Mr. Van Meer lists four ways to move these items out of the facility, short of tossing them in the dumpster.

1. Sell them back to manufacturer. Contact the original equipment manufacturer to see if it is willing to buy back the equipment. In many cases, however, the OEM won't take back equipment in an opened box. The OEM may also charge a hefty stocking fee. In these cases, it makes sense to look for other potential buyers and circle back to the OEM if nobody can be found.

2. Sell them to other facilities. The equipment can be sold to another center in the community, a center within your management network or a hospital. "Look for someone using the product who is willing to purchase it," Mr. Van Meer says. Give them a small discount, allowing the center to recoup a large part of the purchase price.

3. Sell them to a medical wholesale distributor. Wholesale distributors with a national reach like Palm Harbor Medical purchase multi-specialty inventory and redistribute it to other facilities. "This can be a one-stop way to clear out all of your obsolete non-movers, and you can negotiate shipping costs," Mr. Van Meer says.

4. Circle back to the OEM. If you can't find another buyer, go back to the original equipment manufacturer and pay the stocking fee, which usually ranges from 20-30 percent. "While that seems like a big hit, you'll still be getting 70-80 percent of your money back," Mr. Van Meer says. However, OEMs typically do not take back everything they sold.


If you still can't find a buyer, you can always give these items away to a charity. "Donate them to a charity or medical mission," Mr. Van Meer says. "You’ll probably have to pay for shipping but you’ll know that these items are being used to help others around the globe."


Learn more about Palm Harbor Medical.


Related Articles on Surgical Equipment:

Haemonetics' Surgical Disposables Sales Down 5%; Total Sales Up

9 Surgical Equipment Products for ASC Spinal Procedures

Zimmer Enacts Voluntary Recall of Surgical Products


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