Israel to export flexible endoscope for treatment of acid reflux

( Israeli medical device-maker Medigus will begin selling its flexible endoscope for the treatment of acid reflux this year. The medical product is expected to garner several million dollars in revenue in 2014 alone. 

Israeli medical device maker Medigus's new flexible endoscope will help Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) patients avoid undergoing laparoscopic surgery. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The Medigus device allows for outpatient treatment without surgical intervention. The endoscope is inserted through the mouth and staples the stomach to the wall of the esophagus to close a gap that allows acid to rise up. Physicians can see the procedure as they perform it through a small video camera on the tip of the device as well as an ultrasound machine.

Currently, patients suffering from Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are usually treated with medication. Those who don't show improvement undergo laparoscopic surgery. In the United States alone there are currently 16-17 million people who could benefit from the device—patients who are not improving despite drug treatment, but have not yet decided to have the surgery.  

Twenty-one million Americans have chronic or severe GERD, and the U.S. comprises about 25 percent of the global market for the device. By the end of the year, Medicus plans to open 10 centers performing the new procedure in the U.S. and 10 more in Europe. The Medigus device is expected to cost between $10,000 and $12,000, significantly lower than the $18,000-$25,000 cost of surgery.

"We are at the early stage of commercialization. In the medical device world you need to get... innovators to try the product," Chris Rowland, an American who took over as CEO of Medigus in October, told Reuters on Tuesday.

Posted on February 5, 2014 .