Obama Calls Out "Faulty Medical Devices" in State of the Union Address

The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) notes that in his State of the Union address to the nation on Jan. 24, President Obama cited faulty medical devices as an example of what smart regulations could help to prevent.

During the Jan. 24 speech before both chambers of Congress, Obama spent some time talking about responsibility and defending the role of regulations. It was in that context that his reference to medical devices came up.

We've all paid the price for lenders who sold mortgages to people who couldn't afford them, and buyers who knew they couldn't afford them. Thats why we need smart regulations to prevent irresponsible behavior. Rules to prevent financial fraud, or toxic dumping, or faulty medical devices don't destroy the free market. They make the free market work better, Obama said.

But it was his comments on the need to invest in U.S. manufacturing that prompted a pointed response from one device trade association.

The president is right to emphasize manufacturing, and medical technology companies support his efforts to boost manufacturing growth, especially through increased exports and lower trade barriers, says Stephen J. Ubl, president of the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), in a press release. Consistent with this emphasis on manufacturing, we urge President Obama to support repeal of the medical device tax, which is already causing layoffs and will make our tax system even more uncompetitive. Congress should repeal the tax this year.

The 2010 healthcare reform act included a 2.3 percent excise tax on device manufacturers.