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Going generic: Should medical device companies ditch the incremental upgrades?

6:30 am by

Premiergeneric CEO Susan DeVore ruffled a few audience feathers at this week’s AdvaMed conference in Chicago when she said that innovation done on an incremental basis drives costs up – so medical device companies should just go generic. It’ll level the playing field, she argued, and then companies can direct their dollars to hit upon a technology that’s transformative.

“I know that’s not going to be a popular comment,” she said. And DeVore was right: There was a collective audience eye roll at her statement. In the current regulatory environment, it’s tough to be transformative.

DeVore focuses at Premier on improving community health by finding ways to reduce health care costs while improving safety and affordability. She finds that there’s a lot of wasted money resulting from the incremental device innovation out there, since companies step-by-step roll out improvements to their products – and charge a premium for the upgrades.

“Incremental innovation is a lot harder to prove a business case for, and a clinical case for,” she said. The transformational innovation she’s referring to is technology that can get patients out of acute care settings, keeps them at home, is connected to other devices and business intelligence – and is a “business case that’s a lot easier.”

Her solution: Defeature devices. Make them more generic. Make the overall cost go down. Providers are dealing with enormous financial pressure – so if there’s a simplified version of a device that can still lead to equal clinical outcomes, she argued, why not go with that?

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Josh Sandberg

Josh Sandberg is the President of Ortho Sales Partners and Partner for The De Angelis Group. He also serves as Co-Founder and Editor of OrthoSpineNews.

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