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Utah Life Sciences News & Events

Representative Ben McAdams Visits BD

October 4, 2019

On Wednesday, October 2nd, Representative Ben McAdams visited the operations of Becton Dickinson in Sandy, Utah.  Representative McAdams was familiar with Becton Dickinson having visited previously when serving as Mayor of Salt Lake County.  Executives of Becton Dickinson including Rob Fredericks, Vice President and General Manager, Vascular Access Devices, initially met with Representative McAdams and provided an overview of BD products – with a particular emphasis on the products that were designed and developed here in Utah.   The emphasis on innovation was a prelude to discussing the medical device tax that threatens innovation in our industry.  Rob Fredericks discussed the importance of not just a suspension of the medical device tax, but a full repeal of the tax.  He explained that while the suspension would be appreciated, a suspension does not facilitate long term planning.  When a new device takes up to five years to bring to market, it is difficult to start such a project when the threat of a medical device tax being implemented could derail the project before completion.  Representative McAdams was understanding and commented that he feels we should not be taxing the things we want more of, but rather the things we may want to curtail.  He voiced support for the repeal of the tax and was the author of a letter so stating that was signed by other freshmen legislators and sent to House leadership.
Other priorities were also discussed including the US-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement.  All agreed it was important to get this revised agreement approved by both the House and the Senate.  Discussions of escalating health care costs and focus on those issues by the House and Senate were also discussed.  It was pointed out that devices constitute less than 10% of the spend on health care while pharmaceuticals are less than 20%.  Innovation is a key to bringing down the costs of healthcare.
Representative McAdams was taken on a tour of the Becton Dickinson manufacturing operation in Sandy.  This is one of two operations for BD in Utah.  The other is located near the airport and focuses primarily on sales and R&D.  During the tour it was pointed out that BD is very vertically integrated.  In fact, their injection molding department manufactures more plastic pieces than any other facility in the country.  The second highest producer is the manufacturer of Legos.
Following the tour, Representative McAdams held a town hall with approximately 150 employees of BD where he extolled the work being done at this facility and the lives being touched by the excellent products being produced there.  He further reaffirmed his commitment to repealing the medical device tax so that it does not become a drag on the innovation being fostered by BD and other life science companies.  He then took questions from the audience.