21 Jun 2011

New agency could cost medical device firms millions

6:22 pm on 21 June 2011

Firms supplying medical devices fear a new, trans-Tasman agency may cost them millions of dollars a year in registration fees.

Prime Minister John Key on Monday announced that New Zealand and Australia will set up a joint agency to regulate medicines, medical devices and medical interventions.

Medical devices cover a wide range of items used throughout the health system - from gloves, masks, hospital beds and wheelchairs to heart valves, hip implants and medical scanning machines.

The Medical Technology Association says it is an emerging $600 million a year industry, and while it accepts the need for devices to be registered, it does not want New Zealand-owned firms disadvantaged by the smaller domestic market.

The association says many medical devices are already audited internationally, and it has been estimated that a joint agency could cost suppliers of the devices in New Zealand $10 million a year in fees.