Using PR to Reach Investors and Physicians

August 31, 2011 by  Filed under: Marketing 

Medical device coverage among financial outlets is dwindling, so says Chris Gale, who is the vice president of the EVC group, a public relations firm that works directly with medical device companies. Recently one of his primary editorial contacts was reassigned off medical devices coverage. Gale says one of the reasons there is less medical device coverage in the financial media is how difficult it is for a medical device company to get innovations approved by Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In recent years, the FDA has really been cracking down, making foods and medications go through more strenuous testing to ensure that they are not harmful to the people who ingest them. This process can take a very long time, meaning some products don’t get off the ground and into the marketplace for much longer than the medical device manufacturers intended. The longer it takes for a medical device to get approved, the longer before the manufacturer can promote it. Of course, this delays revenues and strains cash flow.

Furthermore, many companies simply don’t have the money to make all of the changes and meet all the other demands asked of them in order to bring their product up to meet FDA standards. This rigorous process proves too much for many, especially those who were just looking for a way to “get rich quick,” and thus a lot of products never make it out into the world.

What’s worse for the medical industry is that venture capitalists are seeing this disturbing trend and are thus deciding not to invest their time, money, and effort into medical technology firms, and, honestly, why should they? When there are much more profitable and foolproof ventures out there, it’s hard to blame them for this decision, especially since many of the bigger companies that have already invested in medical technology firms are now visibly struggling.

The unfortunate thing is that there’s no easy answer to this dilemma. The FDA obviously has to keep its standards high in order to avoid innocent people being hurt or suffering long term ill effects from medications that have not been properly tested and studied. However, the time the organization is spending to test and study these products is costing the medical industry money and even causing it to become a dying market. Talk about a Catch-22! It seems that the only real answer is for the FDA to speed up its process without sacrificing quality or releasing unsafe products.

Suggestions for possibly making the FDA process quicker includes only testing those products that have already met and been approved for certain preliminary standards, hiring more workers to complete the testing process, only allowing a set number of products to be tested at any given time to avoid getting backed up or having some products fall to the wayside, and avoiding publishing results and findings until they have been proven or are as reasonably close to being proven as is possible. If the FDA could follow these suggestions, the medical device market might just get to where it needs to be.

Marty Martinson is a medical device marketing consultant. He works for Medical Marcom in Seattle, Washington which provides medical device marketing for life sciences company looking to win venture capital or investor interest.

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