Device Tax Repeal
In December, Congress passed and President Trump signed legislation fully repealing the medical device excise tax, saving our industry nearly $2 billion annually and capping AdvaMed’s decade-long campaign to repeal this onerous tax. Building on the existing two-year suspension of the tax, AdvaMed was successful in getting repeal legislation introduced in the Senate in March and in the House in April. Throughout the year, AdvaMed continued a robust lobbying and public affairs campaign to ensure full repeal before the suspension expired at year-end. Efforts included multiple Capitol Hill “fly-ins” with company CEOs and research and development leaders, a medical device tax roundtable on the Hill with media and other stakeholders, joint industry fundraisers, and other outreach to help drive repeal across the finish line.
In 2019, AdvaMed’s Government Affairs (GA) department worked to address increasing regulatory activity at the state and federal levels surrounding the use of ethylene oxide (EtO) for medical device sterilization. In concert with AdvaMed’s Technology & Regulation department, and in collaboration with FDA, EPA, state regulators and others, the GA team worked to educate stakeholders and ensure that efforts to strengthen EtO emissions oversight appropriately account for EtO’s vital role in the medical technology ecosystem. GA recruited environmental risk experts to testify at numerous state-level hearings and created messaging documents and other materials to provide reliable, factual information about environmental risks surrounding EtO emissions.
During the year, AdvaMed’s Public Affairs department implemented a multi-pronged media engagement strategy to bolster the industry’s reputation for providing innovative, safe and effective medical technologies that help save and improve patients’ lives. Designed to push back against biased and misleading depictions in the 2018 Netflix film The Bleeding Edge and a lengthy series of stories by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) that began in late 2018, our response included creation of extensive fact sheets and web-based materials to educate the critics and refute narratives questioning the safety of devices and the speed at which they are brought to market. The effort included outreach and engagement with outside stakeholders including FDA, Capitol Hill and allied patient and industry groups, to effectively communicate safety will always be our industry’s top priority. AdvaMed’s efforts ensured the ICIJ investigation achieved no enduring traction, related hearings or legislative activity, while the public perception of our industry remained steady and strong.