What Matters: October's MedTech News You Need to Know

Overheard at GMM HQ

"There’s a pair of shoes I want and they’re stalking me online." - Holley becomes a victim of retargeting. Learn how device companies can also use retargeting.

WHAT THE INDUSTRY IS BUZZING ABOUT

SPEAK YOUR MIND (AT YOUR OWN RISK)

While freedom of speech seems like a pretty straightforward subject, two med-tech executives think the FDA needs a constitutional refresher. The debate centers on off-label promotion of devices and drugs, for which the FDA has no patience. Two recent cases illustrate a new trend of federal prosecutors: target executives for off-label promotional charges, rather than the deep-pocketed companies they run. The FDA is taking the stance that it regulates commercial speech to protect the public. The executives indicted argue that they had the First Amendment right to say what their e-mails and company presentations show. While the jury is literally still out, med tech companies and their executives are left to figure out how to legally sell their goods to the widest possible audience. Hopefully orange isn’t the new black.

THE 411

Those who’ve crossed the FDA’s threshold for off-label promotions have been hit with $8billion in fines and settlements since 2010. An approved use requires “scientific evidence,” which sounds reasonable but takes time, is a costly process, and delays revenues. The FDA is now going after the corporate decision makers. Those executives are hitting back, questioning what the FDA can limit. Stay tuned. It could get interesting.

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COKE BANKROLLING RESEARCH, BUT IS IT THE REAL THING?

Share a Coke and a smile…and a wink? Everyone’s favorite beverage company spent almost $120 million over the past five years to pay for academic health research. Coke, stating a commitment to transparency, released a list on its company website detailing hundreds of Coke grants. Some reflect their statement to support local communities, but others might be seen as the company using its influence to play down the role of Coke products in the spread of obesity.

THE 411

Are those dollar signs dancing before their eyes, a simple sugar high, or a sign of early onset diabetes? Beverage industry-funded studies are 4-8 times more likely to be favorable to the beverage industry. Independently run studies are more likely to think so, and many postulate that Coke might as well.

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THE (NEW) MOST HATED MAN IN AMERICA

A new icon of corporate greed and freshly crowned “Most Hated Man in America” has emerged. No, we’re not talking about Donald Trump but Martin Shkreli, the 32-year-old founder and CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals. The company acquired the rights to Daraprim, a 62-year old drug that fights toxoplasmosis, and immediately raised the price from $13.50 to $750 per pill—while posting pictures on social media of his jet-setting lifestyle and quoting an Eminem song referencing giving the media the middle finger. He’s #SorryNotSorry about the price gouge.

THE 411

Greed is never good business. The healthcare industry is supposed to be about improving patients' lives, not bankrupting them. At Grey Matter Marketing we champion innovation, and we know that funds to reinvest into research have to come from somewhere. But when we lose sight of how medicine, pharma and healthcare fulfill the role of improving or sustaining people's lives, we also lose our ability to defend our position as good corporate citizens worthy of consumer trust and patronage. #micdrop

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GOOD TO KNOW

Don’t mess with nurses. #NursesUnite





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