Senate Forms Medical Technology Caucus

WASHINGTON, March 30 — U.S. Senators Scott Brown (R-MA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) announced today that they will serve as co-chairs for the new Senate Medical Technology Caucus in the 112th Congress. The caucus aims to increase awareness about issues facing the medical technology sector, an industry that creates life-saving and life-enhancing innovations that improve patient care.

“In Massachusetts, we have more than 200 medical device companies and hundreds of bio and pharma companies, all of which provide good-paying jobs to thousands of citizens,” Brown said. “It is critical that we provide a business environment for them to innovate, grow and thrive. I’m pleased to be the Republican chair of this bipartisan caucus, and look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to give our medical device and technology companies the tools and resources they need to continue their important work.”

“These businesses not only spark medical breakthroughs, they save lives,” Klobuchar said. “Every day in every state small medical technology companies are driving the innovation agenda we need to compete in a global economy. I will continue to work to make sure that Minnesota remains a leader in health care innovation by developing innovative products while maintaining patient safety.”

The United States is the world’s only net exporter of medical devices, with a $5.4-billion annual trade surplus. Minnesota is home to 400 medical device practices that support over 50,000 jobs in the state. The industry provides good-paying jobs to more than 400,000 Americans, with total direct and indirect employment exceeding two million.

Klobuchar has led the effort to cut red tape that threatens innovation in this industry. After a December report surveyed over 200 medical technology companies and found that confusing and contradictory regulations are stifling innovation, Klobuchar and Brown pushed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reform its slow and inconsistent 510(k) approval process for medical devices to maintain safety, protect patients, and encourage innovation. Klobuchar is the chair of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Competitiveness, Innovation, and Export Promotion, and plans to hold a hearing to examine the medical device approval process and to examine ways to improve export options.

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