Medical Device Daily Contributing Writer

ZICHRON YAAKOV, Israel – Medical devices continue to lead Israel's life sciences subsector, according to the Israel Life Science Industry organization, with more than 250 companies or 54% of the total for life sciences.

According to the Ministry of Industry, Trade & Labor, Israel's exports from medical devices totaled $1.09 billion in 2004, and Israel leads the world in patents per capita for medical devices.

The fourth MarketReach America business development program, Medical Devices 2006, held at the Tel Aviv Hilton last month, focused on medical reimbursement strategies. The reimbursement of Israeli medical exports was estimated to total $2.6 billion in 2005.

One of the keynote speakers, Lynn Shapiro Snyder, said that reimbursement is the key to successfully penetrating the American market. “Medical device and diagnostic companies require not only a regulatory approval for their products, but also a comprehensive reimbursement strategy,” for the U.S. healthcare pie that doles out some $1.4 trillion, she said.

Snyder, a respected veteran in this sector, is director of the Health Care Practice at Epstein Becker & Green, a global law firm with more than 100 attorneys practicing healthcare law. She said, “With the rising costs of healthcare in the U.S., and the increasing scrutiny by health plans, a reimbursement strategy is even more imperative for success.” These include the governmental Medicare and Medicaid programs and the numerous private-payer health maintenance organizations.

“Coverage, coding and reimbursement for medical devices and diagnostics in the U.S. market have not yet become a top priority for Israeli companies,” said D. Todd Dollinger, chairman of the Trendlines Group (Shorashim, Israel), which co-sponsored the MarketReach America meeting with the Maryland/Israel Development Center and the Israel Export & International Cooperation Institute, as well as other organizations.

Dollinger said one of the strongest facilitators of American-Israeli two-way trade is the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce.

Truphatek, a Trendlines client since 1998 and a manufacturer of laryngoscopes, airway management and emergency medical devices, featuring fiber optic technologies, introduced its advanced start-up company, Veinomed (Netanya, Israel).

CEO David Grey noted that Israel's strength in penetrating the American market comes from an “ability to mix and match engineering and medical needs to produce uniquely clever ideas that have market demand.”

He referred to Veinomed's family of devices that use computerized low-noise IR scanning, signal processing, and identification and decision-making software to calculate the depth and diameter of all available veins but also to then indicate with a spot of light, the optimum point to take the blood sample.

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