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Medical Device Tax Repeal Heads to the President’s Desk

December 20, 2019 in Life Sciences News by Denise Bell

After nearly a decade-long fight, and disruptive, short-term reprieves, Congress has finally permanently repealed the medical device tax. On Tuesday. BioUtah alerted our life sciences community about a vote in the House to end the tax as part of a larger FY 2020 spending bill (repeal provision is on page 585). Yesterday, the Senate cleared the spending package, which is now headed to the President’s desk. The White House has indicated that President Trump will sign the legislation before the weekend, as current government funding expires at midnight, December 20.

BioUtah issued a statement, applauding congressional action and thanking Utah’s lawmakers — Governor Gary Herbert, Senators’ Mitt Romney and Mike Lee, as well as Representatives Rob Bishop, Chris Stewart, John Curtis, and Ben McAdams for strongly supporting repeal.

“This is a win for Utah’s medical device industry, and most importantly, a big win for patients whose lives depend on the innovative and transformative work of this critical sector,” said Kelvyn Cullimore, president and CEO of BioUtah.

“Finally the death of the job killer,” said Fred P. Lampropoulos, chairman and CEO of Merit Medical Systems, Inc. “Now we can get back to planning and running our business.”  

Getting back to business means that medical device companies can continue to make the investments in research and development needed to produce the next generation of innovative, life-saving technologies for the patients they serve.

Both AdvaMed and the Medical Device Manufacturers Association issued statements hailing passage of repeal.

AdvaMed President and CEO, Scott Whittaker, noted that “patients are the real winners here.” Mark Leahey, president and CEO of the Medical Device Manufacturers Association, said  “a full and permanent repeal of the medical device tax is a tremendous victory for the tens of millions of patients who rely on the cures and therapies provided by our industry everyday…”.

A bipartisan drug pricing bill, the CREATES Act, was tucked into the spending measure and is estimated to save $4 billion dollars. The bill is intended to provide an efficient, tailored path for biosimilar and generic drug manufacturers to obtain the drug samples necessary to bring lower-cost medicines to market. The measure also gives FDA more discretion to approve alternative safety protocols, rather than only requiring brand and generic firms to use shared safety protocols.

The FY 2020 spending bill was split into two separate appropriations packages. The first package, filed under H.R. 1865, largely focused on appropriations for the Interior, Environment, and Health and Human Services, and included the device tax repeal. The second package, filed under H.R. 1158, included the defense and national security appropriations.Med