A.M.G. Medical Inc. (AMG) was founded by Allan M. Goldenberg in 1972. Allan had previously worked for ten years in a number of positions at a small surgical instrument import company. Driven by a burning desire to run his own company, Allan faced the challenge of establishing a business without capital. Nevertheless, he opened “A.M.G. Sales Agency Inc.” in his parents’ garage and turned to his several contacts in the surgical instrument field who demonstrated trust and support for him by supplying products on a small open account basis.
Allan’s vision expanded beyond surgical instruments as a direct result of frequent trips he made to New York City where he developed new relationships with entrepreneurs who taught him about the medical sundry business.
Ben Topor joined Allan as a partner to help organise the growing company. Ben had previously graduated from McGill University and had held a position of responsibility in his family’s business.
Throughout the early 1980’s, Allan focused on sourcing, importing and selling activities while Ben focused on finance and administration. They were supported by a staff of approximately five dedicated employees.
In the early 1980’s A.M.G.’s product line had grown to include more than 1000 products with the bulk of sales coming from medical / surgical and diagnostic categories.
Allan made his first trip to Asia. As a result of this trip, A.M.G. developed many important new supplier relationships through which the company entered new business categories; including disposable gloves, non-woven hospital products and wood products such as tongue depressors and cotton-tipped applicators.
A.M.G.’s strategic focus expanded dramatically as management identified the opportunity to serve the emerging home healthcare market in Canada.
the product line had doubled to over 2000 products and A.M.G. published its first “Full-Line” Catalogue which helped publicize and establish A.M.G.’s position as a “one-stop” source of supply for medical dealers across Canada.
Robert Oringer joined A.M.G. as a partner through the merger of his company, Technolab with A.M.G. Shortly thereafter, the company invested in new computer systems, created a marketing function with in-house graphics capability and subsequently produced the first in-house “Home Healthcare Catalogue” in 1991. This contributed to establishing A.M.G.’s first planogram designs which led to the start of A.M.G.’s expansion in retail pharmacies and home healthcare stores across Canada.
On the U.S. side of the border, A.M.G.’s executive management team had founded “Can-Am Surgical” in the early 1980’s along with Herb Cover. Herb led Can-Am in its early years along with his wife Arline Cover.
The original mission of Can-Am Surgical was to replicate A.M.G.’s Canadian distribution success in the U.S. market with a focused selection of products.
Robert joined Herb to focus on building the U.S. market. In that same year, Can-Am Surgical was renamed Can-Am Care Corporation, a distribution facility was established in Chazy, New York, and the company’s strategic mission was refocused to serve the market for people with diabetes as a value-priced supplier of blood lancets.
Can-Am created and developed the category of private label diabetes care in the United States — eventually expanding its offerings beyond lancets to include a full line of ancillary diabetes care products.
Can-Am Care had grown to more than $25 million dollars in sales at which time it was sold to publicly traded Selfcare, Inc. of Waltham, Massachusetts. (Selfcare was later renamed Inverness Medical Technology Inc.)
Allan, Ben and Robert agreed that the time had come to evolve from owner managed to a professionally managed enterprise.
Philip del Buey joined A.M.G. bringing his experience in general management, marketing and sales with multinationals in the consumer-packaged goods field. Philip focused on preparing the experienced management team and the board for the transition while implementing manager led planning, budgeting, new product and brand development structures.
Shortly thereafter, A.M.G. gained ISO certification and in early 2002, the company introduced a new line of Home Blood Pressure monitors featuring the innovative and differentiated “select-cuff ®” system under a new brand name for A.M.G. home diagnostic products, Physio Logic. The success of the line contributed to enhancing the company’s image in retail pharmacy and created the base from which to expand the Physio-Logic brand into related diagnostic devices such as thermometers and scales. This was also the start to evolving product branding away from A.M.G. umbrella branding and towards specific brands targeted to consumer need and use segments.
At the same time, in 2002, after Inverness was sold to Johnson and Johnson, the CanAm Care diabetes business was reacquired by A.M.G. along with US based partners operating out of Alpharetta Georgia. A.M.G. once again had a sister company specialising in U.S. retail pharmacy.
While CanAm Care was building its U.S. Diabetes Care under the leadership of Christian Strong and Phil Willis, their team worked in close collaboration with A.M.G. and in 2003 introduced the Hugo Mobility product line for retail pharmacy. Hugo was a revolution which led to consumerization of durable medical equipment (DME) leveraging designs based around “knock down” technology to enable bulky mobility products to fit into the limited space of retail pharmacy planograms. At the same time, the Canadian team developed the AquaSense brand for retail Bathroom Safety as well as the Airgo mobility brand positioned for speciality retail and institutional channels.
The success of these brand initiatives helped lead to the de-stigmatization of DME home healthcare by way of consumer appealing innovation, design, branding, imagery and communication. This transformed the perception of the category from a specialty niche positioning into the world of mass merchandising. It also cemented the company’s position as a retail leader in DME across Canada.
Over on the institutional sales channel, 2003 was also a milestone year as the company won its first major HealthPro contract for Isolation Gowns. This win helped increase awareness for A.M.G. infection control products across Canada. The timing coincided somewhat with the SARS epidemic which awoke healthcare professionals for the need for better infection control practices. Recognizing this emerging trend, A.M.G. created the MedPro Defense brand positioned to address the growing need for infection control solutions in the areas of PPE, disinfection, human waste management and hygiene.
At the same time, A.M.G. transitioned its selling strategy to focus on creating more demand pull for A.M.G. products. A.M.G. began presenting directly to therapists and later on to facilities & medical professionals rather than relying solely on distributors to develop demand for our products.
after many years of success in the U.S., AMG launched Dex4 glucose products into Canada. Dex4 was immediately embraced by diabetes educators and by people with diabetes. It quickly gained national distribution and market leadership expanding A.M.G.’s presence in retail pharmacies.
A.M.G. acquired the U.S. DME business and the Hugo brand from CanAm Care. A.M.G. maintained a team based in Alpharetta, Georgia to manage the U.S. business in close coordination with Canada. This transition enabled CanAm Care to focus on developing its rapidly growing diabetes management business which was ultimately sold to Perrigo in 2012. A condition of the sale was that A.M.G. would retain rights to sell Dex4 in Canada.
In 2008, triggered by Robert’s personal family experiences, the teams at A.M.G. and CanAm Care began thinking about innovating rescue glucagon solutions for people using insulin who are at risk of severe hypoglycemia. Thereafter, a business plan was developed and a new company, Locemia Solutions, was founded under the leadership of Dr. Claude Piché while being incubated utilising A.M.G. resources. Locemia’s work was directed at making severe hypoglycemia rescue simple through the development of an innovative, needle-free, glucagon nasal powder that is easy to teach, easy to carry, and easy to use. Locemia’s glucagon nasal powder assets were sold to Eli Lilly in October 2015 and the resulting product is sold today around the world as BAQSIMI® (glucagon) Nasal Powder.
After receiving its first ever drug identification license from Health Canada, A.M.G. launched the revolutionary Nocospray disinfection system. Already a success in Europe, Nocospray can disinfect everything from bacteria to spores such as C-difficile at the touch of a button. In addition to Nocospray and PPE products, A.M.G. also introduced Haigh Macerators, Zorbi hygienic bags and other complementary disinfection and waste management products as key parts of the infection control portfolio.
The DME business segment within A.M.G had grown to $30 million in sales at which time it was sold to Drive-DeVilbiss Healthcare, a U.S. based privately held strategic acquirer. This move was made to enable A.M.G. to re-focus itself in devoting more time and resource to developing the growing Infection Control and Health Management businesses.
To complement Dex4 and Physio Logic diagnostics in retail channels, A.M.G. launched the Pro-Active pain management line of Massagers, TENS and Hot-Cold products.
A.M.G. was among the first medical companies to be granted MDSAP certification. It also introduced personal hygiene planograms into retail pharmacy to complement existing infection control items such as thermometers, gloves and masks. This would prove timely with the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic where the A.M.G. team worked closely to support the healthcare sector in its greatest moments of need.
In 2021 A.M.G. repurchased the global rights to the Dex4 brand from Perrigo.
Looking ahead, A.M.G. will seek to fulfill its purpose to help people live and feel better by way of brands that make caring for health easier, safer and less stressful.