The winners of the 2006 Medical Design Excellence Awards can be found in the new issue of MD&DI . A panel of jurors has given awards to 26 products in 10 categories.
This morning's Boston Globe features a Dutch company's product that sounds gimmicky but could offer a significant benefit. The Varibel eyeglasses have tiny microphones that serve as hearing aids built in. But they may do a better job than conventional hearing aids of amplifying sounds the user wants to hear and blocking out background noise.
Proposed changes in the Medicare payment structure could produce drastic cuts in reimbursement for high-priced procedures such as implanting stents and defibrilators, the Boston Globe reports. There is now a 60-day comment period, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know what industry's response will be. AdvaMed has already come out against it.
Bausch & Lomb Inc. hasÂ askedÂ U.S.Â retailers to pulÂ its ReNu with MoistureLoc contact lens solution from shelves. The solution, and similar solutions made by other manufacturers, may be connectedÂ to an outbreak of Fusarium keratitis infections, which could lead to blindness if untreated. The Associated Press reports that the company ordered the withdrawal voluntarily.
Medtronic, Inc. announced that it has received FDA approval for the world's first insulin pump with real-time continuous glucose monitoring . The Minimed Paradigm will help patients take immediate action to correct or prevent problems related to glucose level.
This morning's New York Times has an extensive article on the new wave of genomic-based diagnostic tests. The new territories they can explore in diagnostics are exhilarating, and their profit margins are far more than those for conventional tests. But concerns remain about whether the extra cost is justified, and FDA is interested in expanding its regulatory oversight. Traditionally, FDA has regulated tests sold to doctors and hospitals but not those done by a single lab.
Only one hurdle remains for the largest deal in device-industry history to go through. European Union regulators have approved Boston Scientific Corp.'s $27 billion purchase of Guidant Corp. They also signed off on the sale of Guidant's stent business to Abbott. All that's needed now is approval from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which is expected to come shortly. Then the real work can begin. And there is a lot of work to be done to get back in the graces of FDA and the public.
FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have sent out a public health notice warning of increasing reports of a serious fungal infection caused by soft contact lenses that if untreated can lead to blindness. As of Sunday, 109 cases of the fungal infection, known as keratitisÂ andÂ linked to the fungusÂ Fusarium , were under investigation.
Some believe that external defibrillators aren't in more public places because of fear of lawsuits over misuse. That fear may be alleviated in Canada's largest province. The Ontario legislature is considering a bill that would protect any individual who uses one from liability.
CDRH has used outside experts to help it review products during the approval process. But it has never used them for help on postmarket issues until now. The New York Times reports that CDRH will expand an existing advisory panel for heart devices to add experts who will advise it on postmarket safety issues for those products. They will help CDRH interpret safety data that comes in and advise it on how to handle seriousÂ issues like recalls.
FDA has awarded a contract to Booz Allen Hamilton to evaluate the postmarket study commitment process. The hoped-for outcome is greater consistency among the centers for requiring, requesting, facilitating and reviewing postmarket study commitments. The evaluation is expected to begin this month and should last about a year.
On April 3, Congress requested that the U.S. International Trade Commission investigate the effects of foreign market competition on U.S. medical device and equipment trade. ITC will examine regulatory and other conditions of competition that affect sales and trade of U.S. medical devices in Japan and other foreign markets.
After two years of a healthy market for Initial Public Offerings, things slowed down in the first quarter of 2006. A poll by Thomson Venture Economics and the National Venture Capital Association showed that there were only 10 IPOs in the quarter, totalling $540.8 million. That puts 2006 well behind pace to match the 56 IPOs that fetched $4.46 billion in 2005. Of the 10 IPOs, three were in the "Medical/Health" category, but it's not specified how many of those are device companies.
Boston Scientific's $27 billion purchase of Guidant Corp. was ratified by shareholders of both companies Friday, with 98% of Guidant shareholders and 96% of Boston Scientific's backing the plan. The deal will take effect upon U.S. and European Union regulatory approval, expected some time this month. If you've been reading this blog, you know about the mess Guidant has gotten itself into in the past year. Can Boston Scientific clean it up? We'll see.
Starkey Laboratories of Eden Prairie, MN has a new hearing aid debuting this week. It purports to automatically adapt to the environment, enhancing sounds users want to hear and cutting down background noise. The company predicts that the device will revolutionize hearing aids and produce sales of 1 million units annually. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune is similarly enthusiastic, judging from an article it ran this morning.