|Medtech Issues in the 2012 Election Year|
FDA may be getting a bum rap as the prime suspect in killing medtech innovation. Despite being at the receiving end of countless, vocal accusations, the agency is not the biggest culprit in stymying medical device innovation after all, according to some industry professionals. Instead, partisan politics and politicians with their own agendas—especially in an election year—are increasingly standing in the way of developing and commercializing pioneering medical technologies.
Last week, MD+DI's sister site Qmed.com featured a piece discussing the passionate frustration expressed by renowned entrepreneur Dean Kaman at a recent roundtable discussion at MD&M East on the state of the medical device industry. Although Kamen did not absolve FDA completely of blame, he did place the majority of the blame for the current innovation-stifling environment squarely on the shoulders of media hype and politicians.
"If you listen to what a lot of our political leaders say, they believe that industry is a bunch of people that get together every morning and say: 'What new innovation can we make that is more expensive, less effective, and maybe can kill babies just gratuitously?" Kamen half-joked during the roundtable. "I've never met anyone in this industry that set out to make a more-expensive, less-effective potentially dangerous product." Kamen went on to also blame the medical device industry for not fighting back against rhetoric-spewing politicians and media hype to stem the tide of misinformation and properly inform the public about the advantages associated with innovative medical device technologies.
It appears that many medtech professionals are similarly frustrated by the current political environment. In a poll within the original blog post, a whopping 47% of respondents identified 'politicians with an agenda' as the biggest culprit in killing medical innovation as of the writing of this post. FDA actually trailed significantly behind with only 17% of the vote, and the media and the medical device industry both amassed 13% of the blame. The uninformed public—which Kamen cited as an unintentional but significant force in handicapping medical innovation—followed with 10% of the vote.
Obviously, all of the answer choices are contributing on some level to the ongoing struggle to get novel medical technologies to market. But with the constant barrage of complaints and accusations that rain down on FDA these days, it's a bit surprising that politicians came away from the poll with the lion's share of the vote. It seems like many people in the medical device industry and the general public alike are growing tired of the extreme partisan politics dominating the scene right now. Of course, it is an election year, so nothing is likely to change until after the votes are counted in November.
Head over to the original post and add your vote to the poll. Also, let us know which entity represents the biggest barrier to medical device innovation and why in the comments section. --Shana Leonard