Year 2007 marks the 30th year of this publication's analysis of U.S. and international med-tech, with Biomedical Business & Technology having issues of our predecessor newsletter beginning from 1983.

To highlight what has or has not changed in this industry, we here provide excerpts of news items from these earlier publications.

December 1983 —

"MEDICAL ELECTRONIC IMAGING - Bright Prospects and Difficult Challenges

The 69th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America was held in Chicago, Ill., Nov. 13-18. This year's meeting was the largest ever with some 330 companies displaying their wares [editor's note: about 750 exhibited at this year's 2007 meeting]. Remarkably, at least 70 of the exhibitors were showing products related specifically to electronic imaging in medicine. Although the industry focuses on technologies that create images most notably digital radiography and NMR—advanced image handling equipment will be increasingly needed to utilize the above modalities in a timely and cost-efficient manner. Without speedy image handling the growth in angiographic and interventional radiology procedures could not e sustained long term... .

"PAC systems were first discussed in a public forum in January 1982 when a conference devoted to them was sponsored by the society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers. The conference drew about 300 participants; a second in Kansas City, may 1983 drew over 400... .

Although the ultimate goal is to do away with film entirely, the prototype systems concentrate on images created in the first instance digitally... . such images include all the modalities except standard x-ray and fluoroscopy. At a large medical center digital images may already account for 25% of all images crated, though smaller hospitals, lacking much of the newer equipment, create 90+% of their images on film... .

[PACS] technology is at a point where it just marginally meets requirements. The necessary data capacities are enormous. At the UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS digital devices (CT, DSA, nuclear medicine, ultrasound, NMR) produce 750 megabytes of data in one day. To archive these data in a period of 12 hours requires a transfer rate of 170 kilobits per second. To retrieve images without undue waiting requires transfer rates of at least 10 megabytes per second. Standard video is generally inadequate and even 1,000-line video is inadequate when several frames are displayed side by side. Standard magnetic disks and tapes are too expensive, slow and unreliable for archival stores. Many designers have pinned their hopes on optical disks and tapes—just now becoming available, though improvements in magnetic media also hold promises.


The cardiac pacemaker industry continues to go through a number of developments that will lengthen product cycles and affect market shares. CORDIS continues to make strong gains reporting worldwide unit sales increased 31% ... while dollar sales climbed 51% during the quarter ... The company released its Gemini microprocessor-controlled unit at last month's American Heart Meeting and will introduce a lighter and smaller version (45 grams, about six years longevity) early 1984. Its recent physician notification regarding a possible early battery depletion of its Gamma series is not expected to have a material effect on sales or earnings. At the AHA, CORDIS caused quite a stir by demonstrating the Orthocor, a dedicated antitachyacardia unit. This totally software-based telemetric pacer is about to enter human clinical trials... .

PACESETTER SYSTEMS, following indictments of one former and two current employees on Medicare fraud and kickback charges and the suspension of its initial public offering, will have to match its restricted financial resources with less ambitious R&D and sales expansion plans.

BIOTRONIK's lower cost ($3,950) Diplos DDD pacer was recommended for market approval by the FDA's Circulation Systems Devices Panel and is expected to be released (in the U.S.) early 1984... .

"European Newsbriefs

Venture Capital is clearly becoming a more popular concept in Europe, as witnessed by the emergence of new funds that, in part, attract U.S. participation. More than 30 venture capital firms founded the European Venture Capital Association. One of its objectives is to syndicate deals across national borders, thereby removing one of the major obstacles in funding European companies.

Israel's largest disposable gloves maker, TAGUM, increases its plant capacity from 12 mln to 20 mln gloves per year —- SCHIAPPARELLI-MED-TRONIC the 60/40 joint venture between the Italian drugs/cosmetics firm and MEDTRONIC, distributing he latter's products in Italy, expects $3.1 mln in 1983 revenues, its first year of operation."

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