Medical Technology Conference in Rochester
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Source: Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
Efficient management techniques, innovative approaches to product development and opportunities for collaborations with academic researchers were all on the agenda at the 2013 MedTech Conference.
But many of the speeches and presentations, and definitely much of the mingling conversation, wound around to the hot topic of the moment for the industry: The new 2.3 percent tax on the sale of medical devices included in the Affordable Care Act.
"Everyone's talking about the medical device tax. There's huge resistance on that," said Douglas Bell, a sales representative from American Swiss, a Pittsford-based seller of precision medical instruments and components.
Supporters say the tax, which is expected to raise about $30 billion over 10 years, is designed to offset part of the cost of the millions of Americans who will be newly insured under Obamacare. Opponents say it's threatening the health of the industry.
"The medical device tax, frankly, it's a job killer. It's really hampering innovation for our member companies," said Jessica Crawford, president of MedTech, an association of pharmaceutical, bio-tech and medical technology companies in New York state.
"We have nearly 100 member companies all over New York state and this is really at the forefront of all of their minds. It's hurting the workforce, it's hurting research and development budgets and we're seeing a lot of our companies looking overseas to make investments," she said.
She estimated the tax will cost 43,000 jobs nationwide and 1,700 in New York state.
The conference, held Monday and Tuesday at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Rochester, attracted about 250 people and 23 exhibitors. Presentations and discussions focused on ideas about how to grow and manage a business, find business partners, navigate the domestic and foreign regulatory environment and, possibly most importantly, make business connections.
The speed networking sessions were booked solid, said Mike Riedlinger, program manager at the Rochester BioVenture Center.
In those sessions, representatives of major medical device manufacturers from around the country met briefly with inventors, researcher, and device makers.
"The purpose is to make new business connections that otherwise are very difficult for them to make," Riedlinger said.
"In the course of 15 minutes they can meet with an individual, get their name in front of them, understand what they're looking for, and potentially create some new business," he said.
By the numbers
The medical technology industry in New York state, by the numbers:
- 73,300: State residents directly employed by the bio-medical industry
- 175,000: State residents employed as an indirect result of the industry
- 70: Percentage of state's 250-plus bio-med companies headquartered upstate
- $72,400: Average salary of a bio-med industry employee