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Is the United States losing ground as a leader of medical innovation?

Although the U.S. still tops the list of global leaders in medical technology innovation, emerging markets are gaining ground and stirring up speculation that the live-saving, cost-cutting devices of the future may be developed in countries such as China, India and Brazil. That's according to a report released today from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The Health Blog reports:

The report scores countries by five measures of innovation and sees the U.S. losing ground in all of them - price incentives, resources for innovation, a supportive regulatory system, patient demand and price sensitivity and a supportive investment community.

[PricewaterhouseCoopers] isn’t the first group to look at the U.S. system and find it lacking. Last fall, a survey funded by medical-device companies and VCs called the U.S. regulatory system “unpredictable, inefficient and expensive” compared to Europe. (An FDA spokesman told us then that because companies come to the FDA earlier in the device-development cycle than they do in the E.U., it’s difficult to make direct comparisons.)

In the report (.pdf), the authors discuss why their findings are important for consumers and clinicians:

Innovative medical technology that follows the new value-creation dynamic will lead to better health outcomes at lower cost for a country’s citizens. It also will drive jobs, tax revenue, and economic growth ... Those countries that can adapt quickly to the changing drivers of healthcare innovation and channel tensions into creative output will reap the greatest benefits from medical technology.

Previously: Poll shows support for greater investment in medical research, innovation

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