By Daniel R. Matlis

On February 25th, I had the opportunity to have breakfast with Dave Johnson, CEO of ConvaTec Inc. at “CEO Unplugged,” a speaker series produced by Pennsylvania Bio , in partnership with AdvaMed. “CEO Unplugged” events provide a unique opportunity to interact and network with Medical Device industry executives, entrepreneurs and investors.

ConvaTec is a leading developer, manufacturer & marketer of innovative medical technologies. The company focuses on 4 key areas: Ostomy Care, Wound Therapeutics, Continence & Critical Care and Infusion Devices. ConvaTec employs over 7,000 people worldwide and had revenues of $1.6 Billion in 2010. The company’s strong global footprint includes a sales presence in over 90 countries and 12 manufacturing plants and 22 distribution centers in 9 countries.

During his “CEO Unplugged” session, Mr. Johnson discussed the challenging environment the Medical Technology industry is facing today. As a result of these business and regulatory challenges “I sleep like a baby - I wake up every 2 hours and cry,” he said.

So what keeps Dave Johnson up at night?

  • The need to manage sustainable growth:
    • Striking the proper balance between the seven developed economies versus emerging markets
    • Managing increasing price pressures and changing reimbursement strategies
    •  Navigating the macro economic impact of sovereign debt and investment
  •  The tightening regulatory environment:
    • Bringing Medical Devices to market takes longer and is more costly than ever before. The focus on 510K reform has added uncertainty for industry and investors.
    • Accessing innovative medical technologies has become more difficult
    • Complying with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) can be challenging in a global environment. What one government may consider a common place expediting fee could be construed as a bribe by another.
  • Navigating Health Care Reform in the U.S. and Globally:
    • Working to minimize the impact of the device tax
    • Setting up systems to support competitive bidding

Mr. Johnson had good advice for those attending the session. “Don’t become a victim of these changes; instead take advantage of the opportunity,” said Johnson. “Change your business model from selling products to providing integrated solutions that improve care,” he added.

Mr. Caroll Neubauer, Chairman and CEO of B. Braun of America and B. Braun Medical Inc.  will be the guest at the next “CEO Unplugged” event scheduled for April 1, 2011.

I hope to see you there to hear Mr. Neubauer’s insights on such topics as:

  • Current state of the medical technology industry
  • Global and domestic marketing issues
  • Strategic growth and business development

For more information and to register to attend the next “CEO Unplugged” event visit: http://www.pennsylvaniabio.org/content/ceo-unplugged-hot-topics-medical-technology-0