Executives at medical device companies say they’re more uncertain than ever that the boost in the number of patients who will use their products due to the Affordable Care Act will offset the 2.3 percent tax they now bear under that law, according to survey results being presented today by the state’s industry group.
The survey of 119 executives at Massachusetts-based companies also found that in a shift from previous years, the increasing challenges to getting new devices approved for use in the U.S. are considered as big an influence on the success of a company as its ability to create innovative new devices. Due to understaffing, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has taken longer in recent years to approve new devices.
“This is disturbing, because in Massachusetts, our medical device industry is particularly innovative,” saidTom Sommer, president of MassMEDIC, which commissioned the survey to be done by Kadence International, a Boston market research firm. “It’s troubling to see innovation and regulation on par.”
Despite the fact that most aspects of the ACA have now been phased in, the study found that even more executives — 37 percent this year versus 21 percent last year — say they don’t know whether the law will result in an increase in patients.
“This is a common theme, that there’s a lot of uncertainty in the effect of the medical device tax,” said Andrew Wilson, the Kadence researcher who conducted the study. “We’d expect to know more a year in.”
Both last year and this year, less than one in 10 respondents said they believe any increase in patients will offset the medical device tax. Sommer said that’s significant, since the presumed increase in patients was the main argument in favor of the tax in the first place.