Medical device companies developing products for drug-treated populations must understand the clinical, health economic, and marketing challenges that manifest from this convergence, or risk their devices being relegated to salvage therapy.
Medical devices have traditionally been used as salvage therapy after treatment with drugs has failed. Recent advances in minimally invasive technology, combined with an increased focus on health economics, have allowed some medical devices to vault to a first-line therapy for some indications, including atrial fibrillation and acute ischemic stroke. However, other indications—including hypertension and obesity—have seen promising medical devices fall short of expectations. Developing an effective medical device that can successfully treat patients that have traditionally received drugs can be a lucrative avenue of growth for medical device companies, but certain considerations must be taken before deciding to follow this path. In particular, understanding the current clinical landscape, focusing on health economics, and developing unique marketing strategies can help companies seize this opportunity.