Meet our Speakers - Medical Device Commercial Leaders Forum USA 2014
By NextLevel Life Sciences - March 12, 2014

Leading up to NextLevel Pharma’s Medical Device Commercial Leaders Forum, we are conducting email interviews with selected members of our prestigious speaker panel to learn more about their thoughts on this vital issue.

*Opinions below are those only of the individual and do not reflect upon corporate strategy or positioning.
For more information regarding NextLevel Pharma’s Medical Device Commercial Leaders Forum click here.

Steve Blanc
Former Diagnostics and Life Science Vice President of Sales
Beckman Coulter




John Ridge
Senior Director Managed Care and Reimbursement
Exact Sciences




Peggy Malikowski
Vice President Marketing
HLT Inc.




Brad Thomas
Vice President International Sales and Marketing
Biomet Microfixation




NLP: What do you think makes the North American market so unique for commercial success for medical devices?

Steve Blanc: When I think about the uniqueness of the North American market a few things come to mind. Overall the market is undergoing transformational change. Customer consolidation will accelerate in unforeseen ways and those of us serving these markets must pay close attention and anticipate the change. I think innovation in medical devices will become less fruitful as the medical device tax and demonstrable patient outcome improvement requirements get tighter for reimbursement and acceptance.

In addition the US market is unique in these 2 additional areas:

The U.S has a very strong GPO (General Purchasing Organizations) infrastructure which controls access to hospitals and integrated networks. They must be managed and factored in from a pricing/fee standpoint and the effect on profitability.

The US system operates at a very high volume with decreasing labor resource in quality and quantity. Customers operate in many ways like factories and are not highly technical. Manufacturers must provide high levels of support and training and think in terms of workflow to minimize “re-admit, re-test and re-do's".

John Ridge: The North American market is unique as beyond government payers the playing field is not level and often we have to develop commercialization strategies to meet varied requirements.

Peggy Malikowski: Spirit of innovation, strength in adjacent spaces such as manufacturing, IT, materials, more informed consumers and a strong private payer base that gives patients options/choice.

Brad Thomas: In North America we have a robust healthcare system, excellent surgeons and techniques, great access to capital for start-up companies, and a willingness for doctors to try new things. In search for the best treatment possible, doctors are willing to look at new options.

NLP: Which trends have you seen for medical devices in North America over the past 5 years?

Steve Blanc: Consolidation of companies and customers (hospitals). More consolidation of Doctors to form clinics and or join hospitals. Increased push to near-patient testing and point-of-care testing. Accountable care organizations (ACO's) are becoming more of a presence in the customer base. Molecular diagnostics continues to emerge.

John Ridge: The trend for medical devices from a health care system perspective is increasing evidentiary requirements, bundling payments for episodes of care and consolidated decisions making which mitigates the clinical value proposition.

Peggy Malikowski: Medical device integration that collects and transfers data to guide healthcare decisions.

More centers of excellence in the cardiovascular arena. We also see the clinical trial bar has been raised and more attention on health economic data to support reimbursement and payer demands. There has been a decline in investments/VC funding for development-phase companies pursuing Class III implantables and more attention on 510K products with a more predictable regulatory path. We continue to see multiple decision makers are part of the process and it is critical to demonstrate the value proposition for all key customers from the clinical environment to C-Suite.

Brad Thomas: Most notably the shift of the purchasing decision being made solely by the physician to a committee including the hospital for economic reasons.

NLP: What’s the best thing for you about working in medical devices in North America?

Steve Blanc: Patient care and doing good for our patients. Sophisticated technologies requiring high level sales skills and organizational models.

John Ridge: I thoroughly enjoy the challenges that we face on a daily basis in bringing new technologies to market ultimately knowing that when we are successful we improve patient care.

Peggy Malikowski: Partnering with clinicians to develop and shape new therapies that improve patient care and outcomes.

Brad Thomas: The ability to see patients lives changed forever, by the application of advanced medical technology.

NLP: Why is this Medical Device Commercial Leaders Forum event a good idea for people to attend in your eyes?

Steve Blanc: The transformation will be dramatic. Listening and discussing this is critical so you can understand how to anticipate and uncover new value propositions for customers and patients. Networking with like minds will make you more aware and informed so you can anticipate.

John Ridge: The Medical Device Commercial Leaders Forum provides a fantastic avenue for those involved in the medical device industry to learn from those in the field and to network with their peers with like interests.

Peggy Malikowski: To benchmark best practices for strategic marketing then transfer that knowledge into actionable plans and position your company for growth.

Brad Thomas: It is an opportunity for similar focused people to share experiences, ideas, and advance medical technology together… All in an effort to supply better treatment for physicians and patients.