Monday, April 01, 2013

Walmart Adds Low-Cost Surgical Procedures

Hospitals better get ready for some new competition! This morning, Walmart announced plans to offer discount surgical procedures, with an initial focus on liposuction. Liposuction procedures typically costs more than $6,000, but Walmart will price lower and upper abdomen liposuction at $249.99. Clearly, Walmart is following the price leader strategy that allowed it to become the country's fourth-largest pharmacy.

Here’s a telling comment from the press release:
“We view liposuction as a true lifecycle product for Walmart consumers,” said David St. Hubbins, M.D., chief medical officer at Walmart’s Health and Wellness Division. “As America’s number one seller of lard-based snack products, Walmart has provided unparalleled support for the nation’s obesity epidemic. Now, we can provide a low-cost solution to this ever-growing market segment.”
Walmart claims to be the retailer of choice for 83% of Americans who weigh more than 350 pounds. The company expects 29% of its liposuction customers to be "double dippers"—consumers who will take advantage of Walmart’s low food prices to regain the weight, and then purchase a second lipo procedure.

Another positive tailwind is favorable legislation, such as Mississippi’s new law outlawing the sale of soft drinks in containers smaller than 20 ounces.

Read my comments below for speculation on what this means for hospital marketing and med-surg distribution channels.

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You know what? I just realized that it’s April Fool’s Day again!

15 comments:

  1. Thanks for putting a smile on my face today.
    Take care and keep up the good work.

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  2. I wonder how many hospital CEO’s had a heart attack, before reading the entire article. Although, I think there is some spare space at my Walmart…

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  3. Absolutely hilarious. Happy April Fools! Will be funny to see what feedback you get on this.

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  4. Well done, Adam. I saw it coming, but enjoyed it nonetheless. And it's really not a bad idea...

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  5. Yes, it's a BIG market with heavy competition. Perhaps Walmart's move will encourage hospitals to do some belt-tightening.

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  6. Adam,
    I thought about doing a April Fool post on RxTrace for this morning but my wife convinced me to skip it and just wait for yours. You are the master!
    Dirk.

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  7. Knowing you always post a great AFD essay I didn't even search for the link in my email. I went straight here! Good one!

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  8. I sometimes wonder if California's e-pedigree law is just one long April Fool's joke!

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  9. I always look forward to April 1st on your site, Adam!

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  10. Hello, Dr. Fein.

    I read today’s lead article with my mouth on the floor, and then the link did not lead to the article being anywhere on WM’s page. So I Googled “Walmart + Liposuction.”

    EXCELLENT April Fool’s joke!!!

    Thanks for the laugh!

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  11. I'm surprised you didn't use Dr. L.E.Fant for the quote.

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  12. ABSOLUTELY CLASSIC. Thanks for the laugh! I needed it.

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