Posted 11 April 2017
By Michael Mezher
The Advanced Medical Technology Association's (AdvaMed) President and CEO Scott Whitaker said Tuesday he's confident that the medical device tax introduced under the Affordable Care Act will be repealed this year.
Whitaker made the remarks during a call with reporters on Tuesday, where he also discussed potential changes to the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) inspection program for devices.
Device Tax Repeal
Despite the stalling of the Obamacare replacement bill, the American Health Care Act, which included a provision to permanently repeal the 2.3% device tax, Whitaker said he's confident Congress will find another vehicle to repeal the tax.
"We feel pretty good that if we move to another vehicle, whether its tax reform, [State Children's Health Insurance Program] SCHIP reauthorization, tax extenders, that the Chairman and the leadership of the House—and the Senate, frankly—will support moving it to another vehicle," Whitaker said.
"I think in the second quarter or third quarter of this year, it'll move to the appropriate vehicle. I'm pretty confident it'll get done this year," he added.
Whitaker said he believes a standalone bill, such as the one introduced by Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and more than 220 bipartisan representatives in January, would pass both the House and Senate.
Whitaker also affirmed AdvaMed's support of a bill before the Senate, and its companion in the House, that looks to overhaul FDA's process for inspecting device manufacturers.
The bills would require FDA to implement a more consistent, risk-based inspection process for devices, as well as to improve communications with device makers regarding inspections, and come as FDA prepares to overhaul its inspection program within the Office of Regulatory Affairs as part of the agency's program alignment effort.
Focus asked Whitaker whether he thought ORA realignment would address some of AdvaMed's concerns regarding FDA's inspection program.
"We hope [realignment] improves it to some degree, but we don't think just a reorganization is enough to address some of the inspection issues," Whitaker said.
"In many ways it's a more clear and transparent process that needs to take place so that our companies know what they're coming to inspect so we can be prepared to support that process," he added, referring to provisions in the bills that would require FDA to notify device makers of the type and nature of the inspection ahead of time.
Whitaker added that he hopes inspection reform will be passed this year alongside the Medical Device User Fee Amendment (MDUFA) reauthorization.