2019 In Review: A Highlight of 2019’s Biggest Medical Sales Moments

It’s hard to believe the year is coming to a close, let alone another decade. 2019 brought exciting innovations, new legislation, and even some scandals, all impacting the careers of medical sales reps in different ways.

Let’s take a look back at some of the year’s top newsworthy moments for medical sales:

Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay millions

In 2017, after increased prescription of opioid medications led to widespread misuse, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency. 

As part of the response to this epidemic, in 2019, Johnson & Johnson was held accountable for their part in the crisis through various lawsuits. The pharmaceutical sales giant ended up settling to avoid resource demands if the trials continued. 

“The company recognizes the opioid crisis is a complex public health challenge and is working collaboratively to help communities and people in need,” a Johnson & Johnson representative said in a statement.

While pharmaceutical companies are taking the heat for this crisis, medical device sales companies are taking a new and improved approach to the epidemic with their own inspiring developments.

Micro-Leads secures funding for neuromodulation therapy

One such company is Micro-Leads Medical, Inc. The clinical neurostimulation startup will further develop its high-resolution spinal cord stimulation therapy for treating chronic focal pain without opioids.

“The therapy delivers electrical stimulation to two-times more pain fiber locations on the spinal cord to provide a greater reduction of pain and precision localization of therapy to eliminate side effects,” according to Micro-Leads.

Medical reps who are working with ground-breaking technologies like these can be proud to be part of the solution when it comes to epidemics like the opioid crisis.

Medical sales rep satisfaction reaches an all-time high

Ninety percent of medical sales reps said they’re satisfied in their current roles. That’s the highest noted employee satisfaction in the history of our Best Places to Work report

In fact, despite high job satisfaction in previous years, the percentage of respondents in an active job search always seemed disproportionately high. This year, however, just 11 percent of respondents said they are in an active job search. This figure is down from 24 percent last year and 29 percent in the previous year.

It appears clear that 2020 is going to be a great year for job satisfaction in the medical sales industry!

Medical device failures brought to light

A hidden FDA database revealed patients, doctors, and many FDA officials didn’t have the information they needed regarding medical device failures to make informed decisions. 

For two decades, malfunctions and injuries linked to 108 medical devices, including dental implants and pacemaker leads, were funneled into this database that few patients, doctors or even FDA officials knew existed, according to an investigation by Kaiser Health News.

The FDA released all 5.7 million records in June 2019, allowing researchers, lawyers, and FDA officials to look at the data to learn more about which devices malfunctioned and how often.

AI tools to be marketed in the U.S.

Sensyne Health plans to bring its artificial intelligence tools to America from its base in the U.K., through the help of IT services giant Cognizant and data infrastructure specialist Agorai.

Some of these digital medical products include therapeutic software prescribed to help manage gestational diabetes, a program for monitoring chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder at home, and a program that tracks daily vital signs at home following heart failure.

AI is the way of the future, so it is crucial for medical sales reps to keep up to date when technology like this makes its way into their markets. 

Colorado House Bill 19-1131 Passes

In August 2019, Colorado’s governor signed an Act into law requiring drug manufacturers to make certain information available to prescribers, including the wholesale acquisition cost of a prescription drug to the prescriber.

“This means when a pharmaceutical representative goes into a health care prescriber’s office, they will be required to not only provide information on the legally-approved FDA language on drug efficacy and safety but also the wholesale acquisition cost of the drug,” according to PolicyMed.com.

While only in Colorado, for now, this law could set a precedent in the medical sales community for pharmaceuticals and beyond.

The medical device tax is re-implemented for 2020

Originally passed in 2013 and later suspended, the medical device tax is being reimplemented in 2020. During its initial run, the tax is credited with the loss of 29 thousand jobs across the U.S.

“Unless Congress acts quickly, America’s medical technology companies face a $20 billion tax hike at the end of 2019 when the device excise tax returns,” said AdvaMed president and CEO Scott Whitaker in a prepared statement. “If not stopped, this tax will put future patient innovations and good-paying U.S. jobs at risk.”