We have touched on many subjects regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, such as cosmetics, sanitization products, and updates to international regulations. However, there is one topic we have yet to discuss that has experienced a great impact during this difficult time, the biomedical technology field. The industry is usually recession-proof, but with social distancing measures, the industry has experienced some extreme setbacks.
The decline in the biomedical technology industry was seen in the last weeks of March due to an overall decline in sales, procedures, and testing. As well, many hospitals restricted their surgeries to only necessary surgeries to preserve resources and staff. This resulted in great losses for hospitals and suppliers. However, the losses for hospitals continued through the cost of increasing PPE, reconfiguring spaces, new medical equipment, and the need for increased labor. Although some hospitals have started to allow elective surgeries to begin, such as hospitals in China, the surgery rate has not returned to its normal amount. It has been theorized that this is from consumer hesitation and concern of safety. Therefore, although the decline is lessening, it may still be a while until the biomedical technology industry and hospitals return to normal.
With that being said, certain biomedical technology companies have actually experienced a dramatic increase in sales in certain departments. Companies that were already producing products that could aid in the coronavirus pandemic, such as assistive breathing and intensive care devices, have experienced an increase in profit caused by the high demand. For example, Hillrom, a producer of non-invasive ventilators, patient monitoring devices, and smart beds, experienced an extreme increase in sales. In fact, the company increased ventilator production by fivefold and are hiring temporary and permanent employees.
Other biomedical technology companies have experienced a market gain through the creation of precautionary medical equipment, such as Hologic. Hologic developed a SARS CoV-2 diagnostic test that is compatible with many hospital’s systems. The test produces results within three hours. Since the release of the test, the company has experienced their highest groth rate in eight years and has increased their production of the tests by 12-fold.
People have recognized this ability to succeed in the biomedical technology industry during this time, but some people have been dishonest when trying to find success. As such, the US FDA has seen an increase in fraudulent products. An explanation of the US FDA’s guidance for innovators and researchers can be found here. Therefore, although the biomedical technology field can help greatly during this difficult time, it is important to remember the regulatory steps required in the process.
For more information, please contact Focal Point Research Inc. We are leading North American Regulatory and New Product Consultants for Medical Devices, Natural Health Products, OTC Drugs, Cosmetics, and other consumer products regulated by Health Canada and the U.S. FDA.