The medical device industry will be looking to deliver a message when it gathers in Washington, D.C. at the end of the month for the annual conference of the Advanced Medical Technology Association, or AdvaMed.
The industry is not only critical to health of people, but to a healthy economy as well.
“We have to be clear that our industry accounts for the creation of a lot of high paying jobs,” AdvaMed CAO Ken Mendez told MassDevice.
“We create about two million well-paying jobs across the U.S.”
Mendez told us that while the country grapples with continued pain in the job market with unemployment rates stuck at more than 9 percent, the industry is hoping to remind both regulators and members of Congress that medical device companies are still delivering growth.
“We’re still one of the fastest growing sectors in the economy,” he said. “Even in challenging times our industry has done okay. In the new normal, our industry is doing really well.”
However, continued growth isn’t guaranteed without stabilizing some of the uncertainties that continue to plague the medical device space. Among the headwinds the industry faces include, a 2.3 percent medical device excise tax contained in the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act, uncertainty at the FDA, changes to the key programs used to regulate medical devices and a challenging venture capital investment climate.
Without these hurdles being cleared, the bulk of small businesses that make up more than 70 percent of AdvaMed’s membership base can’t grow into the types of market-moving companies that will create enough jobs to lift the overall economy.
Now in its fifth year, AdvaMed’s annual conference has grown into the showcase annual event for the medical device industry that the organizers set out to create in 2007. Last year, the gathering drew more than 1,700 medical device professionals and this year it promises to draw even more when it opens on the evening of September 26.
Interestingly, Mendez said that most of the attendees come from outside of AdvaMed’s membership base, with more attendees coming into Washington from all over the country and oversees.
In addition, this year will be the last consecutive year that the AdvaMed conference will call the nation’s capitol home. Next year, AdvaMed plans to take the conference to Boston, Mass., before adding other locations in the alternating years that follow.
Ken Mendez’s favorite moments at the conference
AdvaMed has a tradition of drawing some heavy hitters to speak at its annual conference, including all but one of the surviving presidents of the U.S. This year, George W. Bush will address a plenary lunch session on Sept. 27th. We asked Mendez to tell us his three favorite moments. Here they are in no particular order.
- Meeting George H.W. Bush in the first year of the conference: “It was a closed door session and he spoke very candidly and was very entertaining and engaging. In the back room he said to us, ‘I think between Barbara and me you could could count on both hands how many of your devices we have.”
- Hearing Hillary Clinton speak after ending her historic primary run in 2008: “I thought that was very moving and very sincere. She got a really warm reception from the audience too.”
- Bill Clinton addressing the audience in 2009 on healthcare reform: “He said to us very clearly, ‘this is what you should be doing,’ andthen proceeded to lay out a really well articulated version of healthcare reform.”