Once LASIK eye surgery was all the rage. Then TLC, the largest LASIK vision center, went bankrupt. Apparently, it could not run its conveyor belt fast enough to turn a profit.
Yesterday, LCA-Vision, doing business as LASIKPlus, announced it is selling itself for $5.37/share to a skin care company, PhotoMedex.
According to its financial statements, LASIKPlus has not earned a profit since 2007.
If you ever wondered whether patients choose to have LASIK, or are sold this elective procedure, LASIKPlus trumpets that its marketing costs have dropped from $411 to $392/eye. Imagine being sold an elective surgery that “only” costs your surgeon $800 to market.
What does PhotoMedex see in this dog? An underutilized factory. According to its press release, PhotoMedex observes:
LASIK procedures, however, are typically performed only one or two days a week in a costly infrastructure while other days are devoted to patient screening, pre-operative and post-operative care. LASIKPlus centers and staff, who deal one-on-one with patients, are ideally suited for expanding procedures beyond LASIK to include XTRAC laser treatments for various dermatologic disorders such as psoriasis and vitiligo, as well as utilizing the patient interaction for additional clinical brand dispensing.
Imagine the synergies. Two-for one. Treat your myopia and psoriasis in one convenient sitting. What could possibly go wrong?
LASIKPlus was not known for its attention to quality. It received Warning Letters from the FDA concerning violations of federal regulations which govern the proper use of its surgical lasers. It reports more than $6,600,000 in reserves to cover its patients’ medical malpractice claims. That is, at an average price of $3,000 per patient having LASIK surgery on both eyes, it needs 2,200 new patients just to cover the costs of its prior blunders.
I am happy to see LASIKPlus disappear. But it seems unlikely that its new corporate parent will have any more incentive to promote patient safety over patient profit.
Both LASIK patients and investors should look elsewhere.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a doctor, you should promptly contact an attorney with experience in medical malpractice. The Law Office of Todd J. Krouner has a proven track record of helping patients injured by LASIK (and other forms of medical malpractice) all over the country. To determine if you have a strong case, contact us for a free consultation at (914) 238-5800.