Orrin Hatch pulls device tax repeal amendment from user fee bill

Another obstacle is gone that could have delayed action on the medical device/drug industry user fee reauthorization bill now sailing through Congress. As MassDevice reports, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), has backed away from tacking on an amendment that would eliminate the looming 2.3% medical device tax.

That's bad news you say? Well, not exactly. Yes, the medical device industry bitterly opposes the device tax, which is slated to kick in in 2013 to help fund parts of the national health reform law passed two years ago. But there was apparently some worry that the amendment would gum up speedy movement of the user fee reauthorization bill, which must be passed by this fall before the existing measure expires. Hatch amendment co-sponsor Sen. Dan Coates (R-IN) explained, according to the story, that the amendment was pulled in order to not derail the bill, which faces a full Senate vote any day now. After all, opponents of repealing the tax could have held up any action on the user fee bill.

That doesn't mean that Hatch, a medtech supporter, won't keep trying. Coates said he will likely attempt to include the tax repeal "in another vehicle," the story explains.

Device company fees in the $6.4 billion bill are set to more than double, to $609 million. Those fees help pay for the FDA device safety and efficacy reviews before they issue regulatory approvals.

- read the MassDevice story