The U.S. faces the loss of its leadership in medical technology if policymakers don't move to level the playing field between it and other countries, according to Stephen Ubl, president and CEO of AdvaMed during a gathering of workers and civic and business leaders at Stryker's headquarters in Kalamazoo, MI.
"America is the acknowledged world leader in medical technology, but that leadership is being challenged," Ubl said, as quoted by MLive. "We know medical technology has a bright future. The question is: will that future be made in America--or somewhere else?
Ubl was joined by Stryker Chairman, President and CEO Stephen MacMillan in presenting a six-point "Competitiveness Agenda" that they said needs to be addressed. The agenda includes reducing total FDA review times, implementing strategic tax policies and having the payment policies of Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers support medical innovation.
The unveiling of the plan comes as the industry faces growing competition from emerging markets and pressures from healthcare reform, as DOTmed News reports. Earlier this year, PwC issued a report that found the U.S. continues to lead the world in its capacity to produce the latest in medical technology innovation, but emerging markets like China, India and Brazil are catching up.
Ubl and MacMillan also pointed out that medical technology is one of the growing industries in the U.S., employing about 400,000 people, including about 9,000 in Kalamazoo County, MLive notes.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Rep. Fred Upton were on hand and pledged their support for the industry. Upton also addressed the need to reauthorize the Medical Device User Fee and Modernization Act--set to expire in September 2012--through which companies pay fees that allow the FDA to keep on 10 additional staffers to review products and technologies that are headed to market.