We published an Industry Focus column on CooperVision in March 2015. Since then, many developments have taken place at the company that we felt deserved another look. To that end, I recently had the pleasure to speak with Jerry Warner, president of North America.
Mr. Warner, please tell us about your company in terms of its direction.
When you last met with CooperVision, we were experiencing a period of growth, and this growth has continued over the last three years. Our formula for success revolves around three things. First is making sure that eyecare professionals (ECPs) are at the center of what we do; that’s our heritage, and that’s where we are committed. The second area is our portfolio. We’ve launched more products in the last three years than in the previous 20, and it has been across the spectrum from daily disposable lenses to products like Biofinity Energys. Third, our industry is changing and is facing many challenges and discussions, so we’ve become considerably more active on the policy-making front. We also recently became a charter member of the Healthcare Alliance for Patient Safety.
The last time you spoke with us, we were about one year into our acquisition of WebSystem3, which is now EyeCare Prime. Since then, we’ve launched LensFerry and LensFerry S, which are two different subscription models designed to allow consumers to participate in the purchase behavior that they desire. So, we’re a part of the evolving change of the way that commerce is being executed.
Tell us about any new products or new developments in which CooperVision is involved.
We began launching MyDay Toric in January. This lens brings advances in material and design to the fastest growing segment, the one-day segment, but what we’re most excited about is that we’re launching it in the Biofinity Toric design. Our practitioner base loves our Biofinity Toric design, so it made sense for us to develop a premium one-day contact lens using our best toric design.
We’ll be launching products in 2019 and 2020 as well, including more extended range products under the Biofinity brand in addition to some other items.
What do you feel are the most significant hurdles that need to be overcome in the contact lens field?
I think that we need to keep our eyes on a few areas. One, are we bringing to market the products that patients want, and are we helping ECPs understand the benefits and features of that technology? Related to that, we’ve got to keep ECPs at the center of the fitting experience because the best contact lens experience happens when there’s high engagement with an ECP. So, we will continue to also be part of the discussions at the federal and state levels to make sure that we keep ECPs at the center so that patients get the best contact lens experience.
At the same time, we need to recognize the ways that consumers want to get their healthcare, and that’s where services such as EyeCare Prime and LensFerry can play a role.
I also think that we need to reach an understanding on the subject of substitutability, which came up at the recent Federal Trade Commission workshop “The Contact Lens Rule and the Evolving Contact Lens Marketplace.” Some proposed that any soft lens could be exchanged for any other, but that’s not the case. The sophistication of contact lens technology is often underestimated and minimized. The reason why our portfolio is so large and in multiple materials and designs is because we recognize all of the differences that patients require. And again, only ECPs can make sure that the right product is matched up with each patient’s needs. CLS