The decision was taken due to poor sales of Sedasys which can be largely traced to a campaign by the American Society of Anesthesiologists to stop its sale.
Just because robots can do repetitive tasks faster and more efficiently does not necessarily mean that they will come out on top and replace a human. For example, according to Outpatient and Anesthesia News, Johnson and Johnson is in the processing of discontinuing its anesthesia robot, Sedasys, which was to replace human anesthesiologists, due to poor sales.
The robot was created in the first place because of the perception that it could bring down the cost of administrating the sedative from its $2,000 per procedure to the range of $150 to $200 per procedure. Ideally it would have totally eliminated the need for an anesthesia professional, as the robot would ensure that the patient remains unconscious under its monitored care, in the operating theatre.
Although the American Society of Anesthesiologists campaigned against it and slowed down its adoption rate considerably however the group backed down after it was decided that the robot’s utility would be limited to routine procedures such as colonoscopy.
However, due to poor sales of Sedasys, J&J now plans to not only discontinue the sale of the robot but also lay off 3,000 employees from its medical devices division.
Although the campaign by the American Society of Anesthesiologists worked, to some extent, it resulted in the loss of jobs for 3,000 humans. Let’s call that a draw against the war of the rise of the robots.