Medtech companies and industry groups have shrugged off the highly critical, recently released “Implant Files” report from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, seeing major medtech company shares stay steady or rise in the wake of its posting.
The highly critical “Implant Files” report, which was released early this week, is a collaborative effort overseen by the ICIJ and includes work from 252 journalists from 59 media groups across 36 countries.
On its first day of trading this week after the release of the report, industry giant Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) saw its shares rise 1.6% to close at $92.06. Other major players, including Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX) and Zimmer Biomet (NYSE:ZBH) saw shares drop less than 1% in response to the report.
Responses from medical device industry groups varied greatly, with some expressing sympathy to the issues presented in the report and reiterating their intentions to improve global health and wellness through the use of advanced technology.
“The medical device industry understands that just one adverse event is too many, particularly if it affects you or your loved ones. It is heartbreaking when our healthcare system, which is set up to heal people, results in patients being harmed. Everyone involved in care feels the pain when a patient is hurt, from the nurses and doctors on the front lines of care, to the women and men building medical technology. Our first and primary purpose is to help patients and we do that, every day for millions of people around the globe,” MassMEDIC president & former MassDevice publisher Brian Johnson wrote in a statement in response to the ICIJ report. “Patients can feel confident that the medical devices being used to treat them are safe and have been rigorously vetted by a robust and stringent regulatory system. Independent research has shown that the overall recall rate of medical devices, cleared through the FDA is remarkably low, less than 1%. However, nobody involved in this system believes in resting on their laurels. The medical device industry, the FDA and our healthcare system will continue to seek ways to improve the process of patient safety, while giving patients access to groundbreaking new treatments that will improve their lives.”
“While there is no medical procedure that can be performed without risk, Medical Alley companies always strive to innovate and produce the safest possible technologies that deliver better outcomes for patients. Medical Alley has a history of leadership, as the birthplace of the modern medical technology industry and as the co-creator of the Medical Device Innovation Consortium. Medical Alley looks forward to working with all health stakeholders to improve the products, the regulatory process and the press coverage of the medical technology industry and the patients whose lives depend on these products,” Minnesota’s Medical Alley Association representatives wrote in response to the report.
Other groups were more dismissive of the issues covered in the release and accused investigators of “cherry-picking” dramatic stories and “overlooking the overwhelmingly positive experiences” that the industry supports.
“The ICIJ’s coverage of this dynamic industry is cherry-picking a handful of adverse outcomes at the exclusion of the nearly 200,000 medical devices currently on the market improving patient care. This only serves to frighten the millions of patients who benefit from medical technology innovation every day, while inaccurately portraying the rigorous regulatory pathways that are in place to ensure patient safety,” Medical Device Manufacturer’s Association prez & CEO Mark Leahey said in press release responding to the ICIJ report.
“Every one of us will inevitably face a moment where we will hope for a miracle to make a child, sibling, parent, grandparent or loved one well again. Whether it’s a pacemaker that keeps a heart beating, an implant that allows a child to hear for the first time, or an artificial knee that allows a grandmother to play with her grandkids, medical devices are the foundation of modern medicine, providing physicians and nurses the tools they rely on to improve patient care. Yet, instead of a comprehensive look at both the challenges and the achievements of an industry that touches almost every human life, these stories counterfeit the life-changing and life-saving solutions delivered to billions of people worldwide,” AdvaMed wrote in response to the ICIJ report. “We should never discount any patient’s experience. But by magnifying the stories of only a few individuals, we overlook the overwhelmingly positive experiences of millions of others. We take seriously all reports of patient impact, and though the medical community can never completely eliminate risk, we always strive to improve our technologies and care delivery.”
The report is the second major examination of the medtech industry to release this year, after Netflix released a highly critical documentary, titled “The Bleeding Edge,” earlier this summer.