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Medtech Predictions 2013: Five CEOs and Chairmen Look Ahead

Medtech Predictions 2013: Five CEOs and Chairmen Look Ahead
The past year has been a dynamic one for medtech. Congress passed the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, the Supreme Court ruled on the Prometheus case and on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, and the industry watched a contentious presidential election with the future of healthcare in the balance. 

While the results of these events helped to assuage some of the uncertainty that has plagued industry, they have also raised questions about how to move forward. The goals for industry are to solve the greater problems that lay ahead in 2013. Industry CEOs and presidents (from associations as well as large, medium, and small medtech companies) shared their predictions for 2013. These ideas are both personal and universal.

Karen Licitra, Worldwide Chairman, Global Medical Solutions, Johnson & Johnson:

An important area of opportunity is to accelerate experimentation with new business models. This will come in many forms: collaborating with other industries, partnering with payers, and working with governments. The key question facing healthcare globally is how do we control rising costs? Our job as an industry is to experiment with new models that help demonstrate our value through outcomes—both cost and clinical. We need to evolve our capabilities so that we drive value. Traditionally, our industry has gone to market with products with the individual clinician in mind. This still is important, but our customers are dealing with hundreds, thousands of patients. How do we create new business models that aim to drive outcomes while reducing costs for more people? This will most likely happen when stakeholders at every level come together. My prediction is we’ll see more of this in 2013. We need to reach our customers with a value proposition around solutions that address their most pressing needs. 

Dale Wahlstrom, President and CEO, LifeScience Alley and BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota:

The big issue in the medical device world still has to be the uncertainty of the industry in the eyes of investors and developers because of the environment. Investment, regulatory review cycles, and other parts have to function as a system to make it as robust as it can be.

Peter M. von Dyck, CEO, e-Zassi:

I believe that the perfect storm of market reforms in healthcare policies, patent laws, and international business regulations has created difficulties in accessing the capital that has typically been available for development of new products. These uncertainties have stunted the availability and flow of capital to fuel the creation of new medical device products and companies. Without the resources necessary to make it to the marketplace, many new innovations are stuck in the early stages of development. However, I predict that the industry’s increased adoption of open innovation business methods combined with its need for advanced medical technologies will create new channels of connectivity and awareness of these new product opportunities, allowing them to be aligned with the right financial and development partners who can help get them to market.

Stephen W. Sagon, President and CEO, CardioFocus Inc.:

The proposal to revise the European medical device amendments will serve to make it more difficult to perform early stage research in Europe. Will the United States be interested in competing once again to be the home for international medical device research, or will we blink and therefore nominate some other region of the globe to take up the slack?  I am planning to spend more time in Asia!

Mike Mussallem, Chairman and CEO, Edwards Lifesciences:

We all know that the greatest value of the medical device industry lies in its ability to innovate for patients to live longer and happier lives. The climate we currently face, coupled with the Medical Device Tax, is causing innovation to seriously slow as the time-consuming and expensive process to develop new devices becomes less certain and rewarding.  I’m hopeful that in 2013, the opportunity cost of this risk-averse climate becomes an incentive for more certain, swifter pathways for important innovations.

Heather Thompson is editor-in-chief of MD+DI. She predicts that 2013 will bring new emphasis on start-ups and reimbursement.  

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