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Medical Device Manufacturers and Health Care Reform

The Washington Post featured an informative article this weekend about efforts by people and groups connected to medical device manufacturers to resist inclusion in health care reform. One issue is whether medical device manufacturers are partly responsible for driving up the costs of healthcare. Here are some interesting talking points from the article:

  • Profit margins of many medical devices are over 20%. The industry makes $130 billion per year. Many are concerned that medical devices are “overutilized” in the United States.
  • Medical technology represents 6.2 percent of total national health expenditures in 2006.
  • A $40 billion tax (over the next 10 years) on device makers was approved by the Senate Finance Committee earlier this year.
  • Prominent manufacturers of medical devices in Minnesota, Indiana, New Jersey and others find support against the proposed tax from their states’ political representatives, many of whom are concerned about jobs in these states.
  • Concerns still abound about inappropriate marketing, lobbying and payouts by device manufacturers to the FDA and doctors.
  • The medical device industry spent $15.7 million on lobbying in the first 6 months of this year. Money sometimes goes to political candidates and representatives.