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Medical Device Industry as Big Business Influencing Legislation

Without question, the continually expanding medical device market is big business. As profits continue to skyrocket, patient advocates challenge the power of money to shape regulation of harmful medical devices. Here are some of the facts and figures about the medical device industry and Big Pharma expenditures to influence legislation.

Market Valued at Billions Nationally and Internationally

In 2017, Accenture reported that this industry was worth $405 billion internationally. During the same year, the U.S. Department of Commerce indicated that the value of the U.S. medical device market--the largest globally--was approximately $156 billion.

Consequently, many medical device manufacturers have the finances to hire company-employed lobbyists as well as outside firms to reinforce their profit-making objectives. According to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), some of the largest companies employed between 15 and 50 lobbyists in 2017.

In addition, medical device manufacturers pay membership fees to two central industry trade groups, empowering lobbying efforts. Since the beginning of 2017, the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), the older and larger group, has spent more than $6 million. The Medical Device Manufacturers Association (MDMA) has expended nearly $2.6 million.

The groups’ policy objectives advance those that individual medical device manufacturers identify on their lobbying disclosures including:

  • Decreasing taxes on devices
  • Increasing insurance coverage and reimbursement
  • Expediting the FDA’s medical device approval process

  • Medical device lobbyists regularly voice strong positions on Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement codes, device buying policies at the Veterans Administration as well as cybersecurity and trade issues. Besides lobbying Congress, they use financial power to influence the FDA, Center for Medicare and Medicaid and the National Security Council.

    Big Pharma Spends Millions on Lobbying Federal Government

    According to a review of campaign finance and lobbying data from CRP, the medical device industry has spent more than $20 million per year for the past 5 years lobbying the federal government,

    With the new administration in 2017, expenditures increased to more than $26 million, which was $2.2 million more than its highest level during any of the previous 4 years. Based on disclosures from the first three quarters of the year, medical device lobbying in 2018 was anticipated to surpass the 2017 numbers.

    Reports indicate that the U.S. pharmaceutical industry spends even more on lobbying than the medical device industry. Pharmaceutical companies, worth more than $453 billion in the United States in 2017, spent more than $171 million the same year. According to Statista, this number was more than six times the expenditure of the device industry, which has more lobbying resources than consumer and patient advocates.

    More Information About the Medical Device Industry as Big Business

    Are you concerned that the medical device industry has become a big business with the power to influence safety regulations? Do you know others who have suffered injuries from dangerous medical devices, which profit-focused manufacturers continue to produce? Let them know about the legal services at Bernstein, DeCailly & Marshall, PLLC, and share our contact information.

    You deserve answers. We’ve got them.