Down With the Chip: PositiveID Axes Its Scary Medical Records Implant

Last Updated Sep 17, 2010 11:06 AM EDT

In a huge disappointment to bloggers and conspiracy theorists everywhere, PositiveID (PSID) CEO Scott Silverman says his company has stopped marketing its medical records microchip implant for humans. The reason: No one wants it. The news came not in an investor relations press release or an 8-K filing with the SEC, but in a Florida Trend magazine feature on the company formerly known as VeriChip.

PositiveID has suffered months of negative chatter for variously suggesting that its chips could be usefully implanted in maritime workers (their records are hard to get hold of in foreign ports); Alzheimer's patients; diabetics; people afraid of identity theft; patients in certain Florida health systems; and anyone else who might enter a hospital.

Silverman says he's preparing to issue a new round of stock in his company. PositiveID's last mention of "VeriMed" (the most recent of several confusing rebrandings of the original VeriChip/Health Link device) in an SEC filing was in the company's quarterly 10-Q earnings report. The boilerplate said VeriMed was an ongoing business for PositiveID, but the company also listed under "risk factors":
Uncertainty as to whether a market for our VeriMed system will develop and whether we will be able to generate more than a nominal level of revenue from this business;
You'd think some investors might regard it as material that the company was discontinuing its most famous product, even if that product was never a big revenue driver. But no. Somewhere between the May 6 SEC filing and the July 1 magazine piece, the chip blinked out of existence as a meaningful business without an official announcement.

PositiveID is continuing to advance the technology for non-implantable businesses and an implantable glucose-detecting chip for diabetics. Silverman told FT he's expecting controversy if the FDA ever gives it a green light:
... Silverman is still wary that any new implantable products could arouse fears of Big Brother. "I've been around a long time, and I know if we ultimately get some type of federal approval or FDA approval for the implantable glucose chip, I'm sure some people will raise their head again -- but for now, we're focused on delivering products."
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