Panasonic to form North American healthcare unit

Panasonic Corporation of North America announced the creation of a healthcare-focused unit this morning. The new Secaucus, NJ-based unit will consolidate the business ops of the former Panasonic Healthcare Group and Sanyo Biomedical Solutions Division.

Company vet Yoshi Yuasa has been tapped to lead Panasonic Healthcare Company of North America as president. The unit will focus on digital hearing instruments and CardioHealth Station, as well as pharmacy automation technology.

"Panasonic will continue to service the needs of life science customers with innovative products and solutions," said Joe Taylor, chairman and CEO of Panasonic Corporation of North America. "As a leader in the technology field, Panasonic has much to offer both the medical devices and life sciences research communities and we believe that we can make a significant contribution in helping to meet their evolving needs."

Panasonic is relative newcomer to the U.S. hearing aid market, having entered it in April 2010. At the time, some speculated that the company, long known for its audio and video products, could make a huge splash, as the hearing aid market was dominated by a few big competitors. It had already been a player in the Japanese market for a while.

According to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine earlier this year, roughly 27 million Americans age 50 and older have lost some of their hearing and could benefit from a hearing aid, HealthDay reported at the time.

- see the Panasonic release