Photo: Badly Drawn Dad
Indiana lawmakers will spend part of this summer researching ways the state can assist with the continued growth of the medical device industry.
Indiana’s medical device industry is one of the state’s largest industries, employing more than 20,000 Hoosiers and generating more than $10 billion annually.
Legislative leaders, led by State Rep. Terri Austin (D-Anderson), asked the Interim Study Committee on Commerce and Economic Development to consider expanding the partnership between the state and some 300 companies across Indiana that specialize in developing and manufacturing medical devices.
Austin says the life sciences industry in Indiana is crucial to the state’s economy, but legislative support has declined in recent years. She says the industry needs more tailored economic incentives.
“We’ve tried to do some economic development incentives, but we’ve tried to do a one-size-fits-all approach, and companies like these are very different, their needs are different,” Austin said.
Some of the areas the committee will explore will be research and development tax credits, ways to increase venture capital investment, workforce needs in the industry, and vocational education at the high school and college level.
Gretchen Gutman, Vice President of Public Policy for Cook Medical welcomes the initiative, however she says the real change needs to come from the federal level.
“Companies like Cook, we’re a national firm with global sales and our company and hundreds of other Indiana companies, what we really need from our federal lawmakers, is the repeal of the federal medical device tax,” Gutman said.
The U.S. excise tax on medical devices was a part of the Affordable Care Act. Gutman says it is an average tax of thirty percent on medical devices.
While it hasn’t been indicated to Gutman whether the study committee will work to repeal the tax, she noted the 2013 resolution sent by the Indiana General Assembly to the Obama Administration supporting the medical device industry’s efforts to repeal the medical device tax.
Brandon Smith contributed to this report.