1. Medtech joins the fight against COVID-19Medical device companies aided in the management of the pandemic in a host of ways:
- Johnson & Johnson is among the companies that have COVID-19 vaccine candidates being evaluated in Phase 3 clinical trials, though a partnership between Pfizer and BioNTech was the first to receive a vaccine EUA in the U.S. in December. Moderna is close behind.
- Becton Dickinson on Dec. 16 announced that orders have surpassed 1 billion for syringes and needles needed to deliver COVID-19 vaccines.
- Abbott, Siemens Healthineers, BD and Danaher are among the top providers of COVID-19 tests. Abbott is even planning to get 30 million of its rapid COVID-19 test cards into people’s homes in early 2021.
- 3M, Medline Industries, Cardinal Health, Henry Schein and Owens & Minor are important providers of protective equipment such as masks, gowns and gloves to protect health workers from the coronavirus.
- Medline Industries agreed to reprocess tens of thousands of N95 respirators and other face masks per day in its facilities — and it started cranking out hand sanitizer at an infection-prevention products plant in Wisconsin. The company has started repurposing its Lithia Springs, Ga. plant to make face masks in North America for the first time, after receiving a more than $6 million U.S. Department of Defense grant to support the effort.
- Medtronic publicly shared its ventilator IP to help alleviate shortages of the machines early in the pandemic.
- The COVID-19 pandemic increased demand for patient monitors, ventilators and digital health products coming out of Philips’ Connected Care business.
- GE Healthcare is also a major producer of ventilators needed to treat people with severe COVID-19 cases.
- Baxter is playing an important role, providing kidney dialysis machines and infusion pumps to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients.
- Over the course of the year, ventilator manufacturers increased production from 700 per week to 10,000 per week, according to the trade group AdvaMed.
- Leading COVID diagnostic manufacturers have shipped approximately 270 million molecular COVID-19 tests since March, including some 200 million commercial tests and about 70 million extraction reagents.
- In the U.S. alone, PPE production topped 100% capacity, with some manufacturers running production lines 24/7.
Medtech companies’ efforts against the coronavirus came at the same time that many took a revenue hit amid a curtailment of elective procedures — and sometimes even not-so-elective procedures — as health providers focus on managing COVID-19 and patients stay away in droves. Procedures saw some recovery in the third quarter of 2020, but then a new wave of the novel coronavirus hit the world. – CN