The medtech industry has joined other business and industry groups in condemning Tuesday’s siege of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. by supporters of President Donald Trump.
The National Manufacturers Association called for Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. The Business Roundtable tweeted a call for an end to the violence and for a peaceful transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden’s administration.
Medtech trade group AdvaMed followed suit, with president & CEO Scott Whitaker condemning the violence in a statement to the media. “Today’s violence at the U.S. Capitol does not represent who we are or who we should be as a nation. We condemn it. In this country, we settle our political differences by passionately but peacefully seeking changes in policy through the process established by our Constitution,” Whitaker wrote. “The presidential election — certified by the states, the Electoral College, and the courts — will be ratified by Congress. It is now time to move forward together, as one nation, and build upon what unites us. We look forward to working with President Biden and the new Congress to advance policies that save and improve the lives of the patients we serve.”
Medtech’s other major trade groups also spoke out.
“MDMA condemns the horrific and shocking events that occurred at the Capitol, and they have no place in a nation with a strong tradition of peaceful transitions of power following elections,” said Mark Leahey, president and CEO of the Medical Device Manufacturers Association. “This was a tragic reminder that there needs to be more compassion and thoughtfulness in the United States as we debate our differences. MDMA will work with President Biden and the new Congress to advance our shared goals to improve patient care, and spur new innovations to address the pressing challenges facing health care.”
The Medical Alley Association condemned the violence and its perpetrators, president & CEO Shaye Mandle said in a statement. “Our nation is facing real challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic and our failures on racial justice and equality,” Mandle wrote. “It is time for leadership. It is time to endorse the results of a free and fair election, to move forward and to commit our attention and energy to addressing our most pressing issues. We look forward to working with President Biden and the new Congress to improve the health and wellness of our nation.”
Individual companies’ leaders also spoke out. Medtronic CEO Geoff Martha took to LinkedIn to comment on the rioting. “The peaceful transition of power has been a hallmark of American Democracy for more than 200 years,” Martha wrote. “As someone who has benefitted immensely from the freedoms we enjoy in the United States, I am deeply troubled by the images today from our nation’s capital. We all deserve better than the chaos we are seeing in Washington, D.C. — as a society and as a nation. I support the #BusinessRoundtable statement and stand with my fellow CEOs supporting a peaceful transition of power.”
Becton Dickinson CEO Tom Polen told BD employees today that he condemned the violence.
“Like all of you, I was saddened and disturbed by the violence at the U.S. Capitol yesterday,” Polen wrote. “Reports state that four people lost their lives and more than a dozen police officers and individuals were injured in yesterday’s events. Our hearts go out to all of those who were affected. This was not just an affront to a select few, however. The violence was an attack on all of us and our democracy.
“One of our core values at BD is that we help each other be great,” Polen added. “This means that we support and respect one another, challenge ideas, embrace feedback and work together for the good of our customers, the company and patients. In our work and personal lives, there will always be disagreements, but it is how we handle those disagreements that define us. BD is a company where it is safe to voice your opinion, as long as it is done in a respectful and peaceful way that doesn’t intend to demean or intimidate others. Violence, however, is never acceptable, and yesterday’s events proved that once again.
“The violent protests broke one of the most sacred tenets we hold in the U.S. — the peaceful transfer of power,” Polen concluded. “We condemn these actions and urge a return to honoring the rule of law and our democratic process. Our nation faces numerous challenges, including a global pandemic, but I am confident that our country’s leaders will find a way to bring all Americans together to move forward peacefully and uphold the principles that define our democracy.”
Baxter issued a statement as well. “Baxter condemns the violence and unlawful acts that took place at the U.S. Capitol,” the company said. “We call on our nation’s leaders to work together to facilitate a peaceful transition of power and help our country move forward.”
Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky posted this statement: “As an American, as a colleague to tens of thousands of Johnson & Johnson employees in the country, and as a U.S. military veteran who served overseas to protect our democracy, I’m devasted by this assault on what our country has stood for since its founding: free, fair and peaceful elections. Now is the time to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in unity — not face-to-face in conflict — and to chart our path to a better and healthier future.”
Jean-Claude Dubacher, CEO of B. Braun of America, issued a condemnation as well.
“Yesterday’s attack on our nation’s Capitol was appalling and an affront to our American values. We all cherish the right to free speech, but we also understand that violence and mob action have no place in our democracy. We must be guided by the rule of law,” Dubacher said. “This is the time for our elected leaders and our nation to come together to allow for a peaceful transition of power, and I was encouraged to see Congress come together late last night to continue that process and move our country forward.”
In a letter to employees, Boston Scientific CEO Mike Mahoney and human resources SVP Wendy Carruthers acknowledged employees’ distress and shared the company’s position on the events in Washington, D.C.
“The violent attacks and protests that occurred at the U.S. Capitol and several states yesterday marked a dark and sad day for our country and served to threaten the foundation of the nation’s democracy,” they wrote. “We are grateful that all Boston Scientific employees in the District of Columbia and other state capitols are reported to be safe. Our position:
- We believe in respecting the integrity of the democratic process, the election outcome and the peaceful transition of power.
- We denounce all violence and stand against the spread of misinformation.
- We know that division and distrust in our election system impedes our progress as a nation, and especially when so many are suffering in health and welfare due to the pandemic.
- We strive to set an example for civil, caring discourse aligned with our company values.
- We will continue to support an inclusive culture, stay grounded in our company values and the progress we can make together, and find unity in our mission to transform lives — focused on the important work that we are doing to advance science.”
This article has been updated with statements from the Medical Alley Association, Boston Scientific and Baxter.