Trump tariffs threatens to cost medical device industry billions

  • October 04, 2018

The action could have negative consequences for medical device manufacturers and the patients who use their products.  Chinese-made products account for a significant minority of devices imported into the U.S. Some of the imported devices come from Chinese companies.  Others are manufactured by Western companies with operations in China.

Estimates of the negative annual impact of the tariffs on the device industry range from RBC Capital Markets’ $1.5 billion to AdvaMed’s $5 billion.

The size of the estimates reflect changes in the Chinese medical device sector in recent years.  Having started out manufacturing surgical gloves and other simple, disposable items, China is now a source of advanced products.  If the tariffs come into force, the MRI and CT scanners, ultrasound machines and knee implants that now flow from China to the U.S. will be subject to a levy.

That has caused consternation in the medical device industry.  “It’s fair to say manufacturers are disappointed because this action threatens to affect the health and well-being of American patients and those around the world,” Greg Crist, AdvaMed Executive Vice President (EVP) of Public Affairs, told Medical Design & Outsourcing.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) gave medical device manufacturers and other interested parties a chance to comment on its proposals.  The deadline for written comments was May 11, 2018.  The USTR was proposing to hold a public hearing the following week.

REFERENCE:  Fierce BioTech; 09 APR 2018; Nick Paul Taylor

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