Sunday, March 24, 2013
Online Healthcare Innovation Forum: Two Growth Industries – Growing Human Organs in Labs and Growing Democrat Opposition to Medical Device Tax
The development of lab-built body parts is being spurred by a shortage of organ donors and rising demand for transplants.
Gautum Naif, “Researchers Grown Human Organs in Lab,” Wall Street Journal, March 23, 2013
1. “The industry is being punished for its innovation and growth.”
2. “The tax is a burden on medical device businesses but, most importantly, it is a disincentive for jobs. It stifles innovation, and it makes it more difficult for the next generations of lifeesaving device to make it the market.
Quotes from Minnesota’s two Democrat Senators, Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar, in “Their Own Devices, “ justifying their vote to repeal $29 billion excise tax on medical device sales, Wall Street Journal, March 23, 3013.
Innovation based on human organ growth is in. Taxes on medical devices as stiflers of innovation is out.
For wildly different reasons.
· With lab growth of human organs, researchers discovered that stem cells – found in human bone marrow and fat and elsewhere –can be transformed into other organ tissues. Scientists at Wake Forest’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine have grown human bladders and now at work on other bio-engineered body parts, including blood vessels and livers. At London’s Royal Free Hospital, scientists have grown and transplanted a trachea. In Madrid and elsewhere, scientists are hard at work growing hearts, ears, noses, urethras, and bile ducts. The big pay-off, scientifically and economically, will come with a lab-built heart parts, coronaries, valves, and myocardial patches, and maybe, in 5 to 10 years, a whole heart.
· As for Democrats coming out to support innovation and to repeal the Obamacare-imposed tax on medical devices, this may come as a revelation, or more likely, but there's a revolution against a law that hurts home-grown industries and employment. In the Senate, the medical device tax lost in a rout, 70 to 29, big enough to withstand a Presidential veto. Democratic Senators from traditionally liberal states –Massachusetts, Minnesota. Washington State, Illinois, Maryland, and Connecticut – came out of the woodwork to vote down the medical device excise tax. As the Wall Street Journal editorial puts it, “All of this isn’t so much a change of heart, but a full cardiac transplant.” To put it another way, negative influences on your constituents may cause discontinuance of your previous point of view.Tweet: Innovation is in – in labs where human organs grow and in U.S. Senate, causing it to reject an innovation-stifling medical device tax.
Posted by Richard L. Reece, MD at 10:50 AM
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