Article Date: 2/1/2009

Abbott Labs to Acquire Advanced Medical Optics
Practice pulse TIPS, TRENDS & NEWS YOU CAN USE

Abbott Labs to Acquire Advanced Medical Optics

GLOBAL HEALTHCARE COMPANY SEEKS PRESENCE IN EYECARE.

■ Abbot Labs, a global healthcare company that offers pharmaceutical, nutritional and animal health products; diagnostic instruments and tests and; medical and surgical devices; has announced a definitive agreement to acquire Advanced Medical Optics (AMO) for 2.8 billion.

"This acquisition further strengthens Abbot's medical device business and marks our entry into the attractive vision care industry, adding a market-leading, diverse and sustainable new growth platform with more than $1 billion in annual sales," says Miles D. White, Abbott's chairman and chief executive officer. "I was particularly interested in some segments of [AMO] that are of course tech-driven and R&D-driven growth businesses …"

Jim Mazzo, AMO's chairman and chief executive officer, who will remain as AMO president, says, "… Joining forces with Abbott will fortify our position as a global ophthalmic medical device leader and enhance our ability to serve eyecare practitioners and patients around the world."

The AMO purchase is subject to customary closing conditions, such as antitrust clearances. Both companies expect the acquisition to become final in the first quarter of 2009.

Executive Changes at Alcon and Bausch & Lomb

EYECARE COMPANIES NAME NEW LEADERS

KEVIN BUEHLER

■ Eyecare behemoths Alcon and Bausch & Lomb have appointed Kevin Buehler and Peter Valenti III, respectively in leadership positions.

As of April 1, 2009, Mr. Buehler, will become president and chief executive officer of Alcon Inc., replacing Cary Rayment, who will continue as a director and the non-executive chairman of the board. Mr. Buehler is currently senior vice president, Global Markets and chief marketing officer of Alcon Laboratories Inc., a subsidiary of Alcon Inc. He joined Alcon in 1984 as a regional sales manager in the company's Consumer Products Division and worked his way up the corporate ladder.

PETER VALENTI III

As we go to press, Mr. Valenti is Bausch & Lomb's new president, North America, Vision Care. Prior to this appointment, he was vice president and general manager, Surgical Devices (U.S.) for Covidien. In addition, he was vice president, Global Strategy and vice president U.S. Marketing in Johnson & Johnson's Vision Care section and held several brand management roles with Procter & Gamble.

Essilor Agrees to Buy Signet Armorlite

OPHTHALMIC LENS GIANT WANTS CALIFORNIA COMPETITOR

Essilor of America has signed a share purchase agreement, whereby it has offered to acquire Signet Armorlite's entire capital.

Signet Armorlite, headquartered in San Marcos, Calif., is the exclusive distributor of Kodak lenses worldwide and is an authorized U.S. distributor for 3M adhesive optical supply products, such as the Blue Chip Lens Protector.

"Essilor is interested in … looking for opportunities to combine research and development capabilities to bring even better products to the market," says a spokesperson for the company.

SUCCESS FILES
Establish a Network of Physicians
Bob Levoy, O.D., Rosslyn, NY

■ All referrals are warmly welcomed, but physician referrals are especially nice. They represent a potentially endless supply of patients. Also, they carry considerable weight. This imbues your diagnosis and recommendations with greater credibility — and almost guarantees patient acceptance and compliance.
Begin prospecting with those physicians you know socially or better yet, those who are your patients. They'll be the most receptive to an explanation of how your diagnostic, therapeutic, hospital and minor surgical privileges might be of value to their patients.
Next, make contact with those physicians who are practicing in your practice's building. You share common ground — and patients will find the referrals convenient.
Establish a referral network. Write selected physicians in your community and explain that you're in the process of establishing a network of PCPs and specialists, to whom you can refer patients. And, request information about their practices. Don't include a brochure about your practice, article reprints or business cards. These are self-serving and will be seen as such.
Reality check: The response to your letter depends on several factors: how swamped with patients the physician's practice is; the perceived sincerity of your letter; his knowledge of optometry's expanded scope of practice; perhaps even the stationery. In some cases, physicians will phone, request further information and down-the-line, the letter may result in reciprocal referrals.

HEALTH Notes
  • The 3D OCT-1000 TrueMap Measurement Software, from Topcon Medical Systems, Inc., has received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance as an addition to the company's 3D OCT-1000 Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) system.
  • The Alodox Convenience Kit, from Cynacon/Ocusoft now contains EyeEco's Tranquileyes Moist Heat Therapy Goggles and Thermoeyes Reusable Heat Packs. Visit www.alodox.com/alodox.html, for more information on the Kit.
  • Vitreous fluid levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1 appear to have the strongest influence regarding vascular permeability and diabetic macular edema severity, says January's Ophthalmology.

O.D. NOTE BOOK
Pfizer Ophthalmics raised the profile of Glaucoma Awareness Month (January) by distributing an educational radio feature to various stations nationwide. The feature discusses the disease and includes insights by James. C. Tsai, M.D., Chairman, Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Science at Yale University.

Transitions Optical has created "What to Expect: Bilingual Eye Exam Guide," a set of 12, eight-by-eight-inch cards detailing each common test and pre-test usually included as part of the eye examination. You can request the patient education cards, written in Spanish on one side and English on the other, by calling Transitions at (800) 848-1506, ext. 7448.

Alcon is planting 10,000 trees across the United States as part of its work with the optometric community and the Arbor Day Foundation. In addition, the company recently redesigned its Opti-Free Replenish MPDS starter kits to become more environmentally friendly.

Optos has announced that 70 new P200 scanning laser ophthalmoscopes will be installed at LensCrafters retail locations and that all existing contracts with the retailer have been extended.

■ Accredited schools of optometry are invited to nominate one third-year student for the American Optometric Association (AOA) Foundation annual scholarships. The awards range from $2,500 to $5,000. For more information, contact Sara Breed, SNBreed@aoa.org, (800) 365-2219 ext. 4218.

Smile Reminder, a practice-to-patient communication service has recently introduced its communication tools into the eyecare market, enabling you to reach patients with personalized messages. For information, visit www.smilereminder.com.

■ Nominate a Paraoptometric that serves patients and is active in the community for the 2009 Community Service Award of the AOA's Paraoptometric Section. The winner receives a plaque, $100 and $100 donated to the charity of the winner's choice. Download a nomination form at www.aoa.org/x4979.xml.

Omission. In the December issue of Optometric Management, we inadvertently omitted the American Optometric Association Foundation, "Optometry's Charity," from a listing of eyecare-related charities (Eyecare Professionals Provide Vision to the Less Fortunate," Practice pulse). We profile one of the Foundation's programs, InfantSEE, on REFLECTIONS of this month's issue.


Optometric Management, Issue: February 2009