Coronavirus and the medical device industry

Eugene Ramirez | March 2020

The impacts of the coronavirus are unarguably far reaching. Among them, an interruption of medical devices manufacturing and approvals, and slowing of elective medical procedures which also impacts the medical device industry.

On the manufacturing front, reports indicate that the virus could have a direct impact, slowing down the supply chain from China to the U.S. and elsewhere. Nearly 40% of medical devices in the U.S. come from China.

Further impacting the supply chain, FDA workers assigned to inspect products made in China have were returned to the U.S. in February. Still, USA Today reports the agency can carry out inspections remotely via testing, reviewing records, and forbidding certain products from entering the country. The FDA has seen inspection interruptions in the past, such as during severe weather events. While an interruption of several months may not have a very significant impact long-term, a prolonged interruption could potentially impact patients in need.

Some patients, however, are choosing not to undergo procedures at this time, and that has some medical device manufacturers warning investors.

MarketWatch reports Boston Scientific and Medtronic are among the companies claiming that delays in elective medical procedures in China due to coronavirus will impact their financial performance. Procedures like hip and knee replacements are understandably on hold as medical professionals there focus on the virus that has killed thousands.