Medical devices for the everyday consumer: in more places than you’d think

The medical device industry is pretty elusive—most people go about their everyday lives without really thinking about this industry churning away in the background. In fact, you might not have even thought of your hip implant or pacemaker being a cog in a much larger wheel of a very important industry. While big pharma is much more in the face of the everyday consumer, medtech gets to largely fly under the radar, for better or for worse. After all, you don’t pick up your hernia mesh or coronary stent at the local drug store.

However, if you pay attention, you might find medtech in more places than you’d expect.

  • Medtech likes to pop up here and there in TV shows. I wrote before about how hacking pacemakers came up in an episode of Homeland. More recently, I was watching the Good Wife, and this particular episode was surrounding a spinal cord stimulator device. And that’s not even touching shows that are centered on hospitals, like Grey’s Anatomy.
  • Every so often lawsuits come front and center. I’ve seen TV ads from lawyers saying that if you’ve had a faulty mesh procedure, you can come talk to them and they’ll help you get compensated for it. Similarly, lawsuits for faulty knee and hip implants seem to make their way into the mainstream media as well.
  • Walk by any sort of spa or dermatology clinic and it’s not surprising to see advertisements for BOTOX Cosmetic or JUVÉDERM on their sign outside. That’s the marketing efforts of Allergan at work. While you might not general consider these facial injectable products to be “medical devices”, we classify them under the device umbrella.
    • Interesting fact of the day: these products are considered prescription medicines in Australia and cannot be advertised directly to consumers, unlike most other countries.

And that’s just the visible tip of the iceberg.