Survey: Blue skies behind a glass ceiling for women execs in medtech

By Fink Densford in MassDevice, February 2, 2016

A new survey of women executives in medtech reveals that while most feel they hold as much power as their male counterparts, they don’t see the same pay or opportunities for investment.

The survey, managed by Medi-Vantage for MassMedic and the Women in Medtech Program, was initiated to explore current and future challenges for women in executive roles in medtech.

Women represent approximately 78.4% of the labor force in the healthcare industry, according to the Center for American Progress, but are wildly underrepresented on the executive ladder, making up only 14.6% of the executive officer positions in the industry.

Not a single woman holds the corner office at the top 100 medical device companies as listed last year by Medical Device & Outsourcing. The closest contender was Philips Healthcare’s Deborah DiSanzo, who left Philips in July 2014 – though she now heads IBM’s Watson Health unit.

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Medtech gets serious about cybersecurity

By Val Kennedy in MassDevice, October 6, 2015

The medtech industry is getting serious about cybersecurity.

At a recent seminar held by the Mass. Medical Device Industry Council (MassMEDIC), medical device executives, regulators and security experts discussed which systems and devices were most vulnerable to malicious hacking and what could be done to stop it.

MassMEDIC President Thomas Sommer said his group decided to hold the seminar in response to reports that hacking is on the rise, particularly the theft of patient data.

“It’s something that small and mid-sized companies are now focusing on. The larger companies have had robust plans in place for some time,” Sommer told “The medical device industry is now joining other tech-based industries in developing security plans for their devices.”.

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Device Makers Take Note: Cyber Attacks Are Already Hitting Healthcare

By Marie Thibault in MDDI, September 29, 2015

… As more evidence that cybersecurity is becoming a hot topic for the device industry, an upcoming conference being hosted by the Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council (MassMEDIC), “Preventing the Unthinkable: Issues in MedTech Cyber Security—Trends and Policies,” is devoted to the topic. The event, taking place on October 1, was conceived to put regulators, security experts, and medtech professionals in one room “to come together to talk about common trends and policies and best practices, to share with a larger audience from the medical device community,” says Tom Sommer, president of MassMEDIC.

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Survey: Medical device execs don’t think patient increase will offset tax

By Don Seiffert in the Boston Business Journal, May 7, 2015

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…

“This is disturbing, because in Massachusetts, our medical device industry is particularly innovative,” said Tom 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…”

The results were presented this morning during MassMEDIC’s annual conference at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Sommer said that nearly 400 attendees were expected, the highest number in several years.

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State remains strong in medical-gear field

By Priyanka Dayal McCluskey in the Boston Globe, May 6, 2015

The Massachusetts medical-device industry maintained its position as the second-biggest cluster in the country, even as it lost 5 percent of its workforce, according to a new report.

The state continued to add companies, attract venture capital funding, and increase exports, said the analysis from the trade group Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council…

The state had about 22,000 jobs in the industry in 2012, or 6 percent of the medical device jobs in the country, according to Census data used in the report.

Tom Sommer, president of the industry group, also known as MassMEDIC, blamed the job losses on a medical-device tax implemented as part of the federal health care overhaul and new health care payment models that encourage providers and insurers to cut costly treatments and procedures. The industry is lobbying Congress to repeal the tax.

The controversial tax didn’t take effect until 2013, but Sommer said it had a chilling effect on industry jobs even before then, and it continues to pose a challenge. Nationally, the industry lost about 3 percent of its jobs from 2008 to 2012, the report said.

“Over the years, we have learned that companies are reducing headcount or putting expansion plans on the shelf for a while,” Sommer said. “They are reducing research and development. They are seeking lower costs.”

Mergers, acquisitions, and outsourcing also are likely to have contributed to the loss of jobs, Sommer added.

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Can small medical device makers match up with the big companies?

By Lisa Eckelbecker in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, February 27, 2015

Sometimes, even technology geeks can’t get anyone to take their calls.

That’s why a medical device trade group is launching an effort to show some of the largest medical device makers in the industry what the state’s small manufacturers could do for them.

The Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council, or MassMEDIC, wants to raise awareness and activity of small suppliers, said Thomas J. Sommer, MassMEDIC president. A survey by the group in recent years found that Massachusetts medical device makers got 51 percent of their supplies from in-state suppliers, he said.

“Not a bad number, but not a great number,” Mr. Sommer said Wednesday while meeting with about 22 area manufacturers and consultants at the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce. “That gives us room to grow.”

Massachusetts is home to about 400 medical device companies which directly support about 24,000 workers. Medical devices are also the state’s top export, Mr. Sommer said…

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“Med Tech Match” brings Boston firms, SouthCoast suppliers together

By Steve Urbon in SouthCoast Today, February 11, 2015

In a small meeting room at the headquarter of the Buzzards Bay Coalition, medical device industry executives, local manufacturing managers and some local economic development officials did some speed dating.

They got to know each other because there appears to be a highly lucrative potential relationship between major medical manufacturers and the many small local firms that can supply the parts and materials.

Tom Sommer, president of MassMedic, an industry association, said, “We wanted to inform medical device manufacturers in the state of possible suppliers here in their own backyard.”

“They are developing new materials, lubricants,” Sommer said. Lubricant industry pioneer Nye Lubricants was represented, as was  EPEC Tech, a battery manufacturer.

Sommer said the idea is to develop the industry in-state using some mentoring to put relationships and business deals together…

Read the full story in SouthCoast Today

Berkshire event aims to connect local suppliers, medical manufacturers

By Tony Dobrowolski in the Berkshire Eagle, January 31, 2015

The Berkshire Innovation Center won’t open until next year, but programming for its membership has already begun.

On Thursday, the center co-hosted an event at which representatives of the Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council launched the MedTech Match program in the Berkshires.

The MedTech Match program matches companies that supply products to the medical device field with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) that include industry heavyweights like Johnson & Johnson, Siemens Diagnostic, Medtronic and Philips Healthcare. Those companies are either located in Massachusetts or maintain offices here…

Read the full story in The Berkshire Eagle

Boston Herald Editorial: A Devastating Tax

By the Boston Herald Staff

Of all the many flaws in Obamacare, the medical device tax, the most destructive, would also be the easiest to fix.

The 2.3 percent tax was always among the most controversial elements of the Affordable Care Act and even this state’s irretrievably liberal Democratic delegation opposed it pretty much from the start. But when it came to doing the right thing by their party or their state and its industries — well, we all know where they ended up.

So now we in Massachusetts are paying the price for their misplaced loyalty. But the biggest price is being paid by those companies and the dwindling workforce.

At first the accounts of the law’s impact were anecdotal. The Herald found Ronald Adams, laid off from his job as senior director of research and development for Hologic, who reports he’s got lots of company from former associates out there on the unemployment lines.

Some 25,000 people are — or were — employed by the medical device industry in this state.

Tom Somers, head of the Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council, told the Herald, “I haven’t seen job growth at all in the last year or so.”

The Legislature as part of the fiscal 2015 budget created a commission to study the impact of the medical device tax and put some real numbers behind the general impression that it was already having a devastating impact on an important economic generator. The commission is also charged with evaluating whether the state should use its own tax policy to offset the negative impact of the Obama-care tax since Congress hasn’t exactly knocked itself out trying to repeal that provision.

A Pioneer Institute study of the 19 largest medical device companies in the state found that the tax will cost them an estimated $400 million a year. Now that’s one hefty hunk of change in the event Massachusetts wants to “correct” this flaw in federal policy. And that doesn’t include the smaller, startup companies where so much of the action is these days.

The alternative for those firms? Cut research and development, thus depriving the entire nation of the possible next “big thing” in health care, or cut their work force. Both ugly choices.

Congress could, of course, solve the problem — if there is the political will to do so, an increasingly dubious proposition.

Local medical device companies still wary about new tax, survey finds

By Chris Reidy in The Boston Globe, May 7, 2014

Executives at local medical device companies remain uncertain that a projected increase in the use of the devices will offset the costs of a new medical device tax levied by the Affordable Care Act, which is also known as Obamacare.

The uncertainty was a finding of a survey commissioned by the Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council, which is holding its annual conference Wednesday at the University of Massachusetts Boston. The survey’s findings are being presented at the conference.

According to the council, only 8 percent of survey respondents believe the jump in new patient sales will offset the device tax…

In a statement, council president Tom Sommer said: “Another year has now passed as the medical device sector learns to live under the new health care reform rules and impacts. Our device companies, which contribute thousands of jobs and millions in economic activity to our state, have been doing the best they can under challenging circumstances…”

Read the full story in The Boston Globe