Phoenix Medical Systems was founded to manufacture an incubator designed specifically to address the needs of low-resource healthcare providers in India. Initially its founder, who also designed the device, tried selling his incubator through the few medical equipment distributors that existed in India at the time. However, he found this approach to be problematic. Relative to the simple medical products these companies were used to representing, such as syringes and blood pressure cuffs, the incubator was technically complex. The distributors’ sales reps were willing to represent the product, but they didn’t make an effort to understand how it worked so they were unable to position the device effectively and answer the detailed questions that doctors would ask. Phoenix was able to make a small number of sales through this channel, but the product did not gain any significant traction in the market. This mini-case study looks at how Phoenix addressed this obstacle by building its own direct sales force.
This story is part of the Global Health Innovation Insight Series developed at Stanford University to shed light on the challenges that global health innovators face as they seek to develop and implement new products and services that address needs in resource-constrained settings.
Acknowledgements: We would like to thank V. Sashi Kumar of Phoenix Medical Systems for his participation. This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health grant 1 RC4 TW008781-01.