Political Notebook


Coats invites FDA officials to Indiana

A day after urging the repeal of a tax on medical device manufacturers, Sen. Dan Coats on Tuesday invited leaders of the Food and Drug Administration to visit Indiana companies that make the products.

"My goal is to ensure that the Agency does all it can to incentivize, not hinder, innovation, so that patients can have access to these critically important products," Coats, R-Ind., wrote in letters to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg.

Coats asked in the letter that Hamburg and Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health, "come to Indiana to have an open, frank discussion with leaders in the medical device industry."

On Monday, Coats said in a speech on the Senate floor that a 2.3 percent tax on medical device sales, scheduled to take effect in 2013, could put Hoosier jobs at risk of being shifted overseas. At that time and in the letter, Coats pointed out that 20,000 people are employed by medical device makers in Indiana and nearly 29,000 more jobs are supported by the industry.

The tax is part of President Obama's health care law passed by Congress in 2010.

Although Coats did not mention any of the manufacturers by name, Warsaw has been called the orthopedics capital of the world because of the presence of manufacturers Biomet Inc., DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. and Zimmer Holdings Inc. Combined, they employ 13,000 in Kosciusko County, according to a study released in April.