Allen tours medical device facility in Chester

U.S. Senate candidate George Allen toured the Chester manufacturing facility of Merit Medical Systems, a leading developer, manufacturer and distributor of medical devices, on Monday.

As part of his Virginia Voices tour, Allen also held a town hall meeting with Merit Medical Systems employees to listen to their concerns and ideas on Washington’s policies affecting their business and families.

Merit Medical’s Chester manufacturing facility assembles surgical product packs for hospitals and physicians around the world. Merit Medical purchased the empty facility in 2005 and invested several million dollars to turn it into a manufacturing business that now employs about 120 people.

The top concern voiced was the health care law’s 2.3 percent tax on medical devices – one of the most punitive taxes levied on an industry. According to a study released by the Advanced Medical Technology Association, the medical device tax nearly doubles the device industry’s tax bill, making the effective tax rate one of the highest faced by any industry in the world.

“Merit Medical Systems is proud to be a part of Virginia’s inventive, hard-working and talented business community,” said Fred Lampropoulos, president and CEO of Merit Medical Systems. “We want to continue leading the way for innovation, but Washington has set a major roadblock with a 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device sales. This tax impedes our ability to invest in new research and development and to fulfill our goal of cost-effective products. We need advocates in the U.S. Senate who will repeal this tax that discourages medical device manufacturing in America.”

At the employee town hall meeting, Fred Lampropoulos told employees that the new medical device tax will cost the company $5 Million – $10 Million a year, leaving less money for advertising and research and development. Additionally, the federal government’s regulatory hurdles are impeding market development and delaying access to products in the U.S.

“America should be the world capital of innovation, and we should want to foster an economic climate to make products in the U.S.A,” said Allen. “But an over-reaching, over-regulating Washington stands in the way of job creators such as Merit Medical Systems with a hindering, unfair tax system. The health care law’s medical device tax is a prime example of Washington discouraging jobs, investment and innovation in America.  This gross receipts tax will shift innovation and production to outside the U.S.A. That is wrong, and I want to be the deciding vote to repeal this health care law tax that is hurting working people and families and replace it with patient-centered reforms that actually make health care more affordable.

Allen supports health care reforms based on portable, personal and cost effective solutions. Additionally, he supports allowing small businesses to join together in larger risk pools for greater choice and lower insurance costs and empowering States with the flexibility to manage Medicaid more efficiently.




Response from Lily Adams, Kaine campaign spokesperson:

“As George Allen continues to peddle reelection rhetoric to Virginians still recovering from his six divisive years in Washington, his record doesn’t match his words. George Allen talks about reducing tax burdens, but Virginians had a lower state tax burden under Tim Kaine than Allen. George Allen talks about expanding affordable health care, but during the decade that included his term in the Senate, insurance premiums skyrocketed and the number of uninsured Americans exploded. And George Allen talks about spurring innovation, but as governor he proposed deep cuts to education and as senator voted for the largest cut to student aid in history. Tim Kaine has more than good election year talk – he has a proven record of increasing economic opportunity for all Virginians by investing in our businesses, training our workers, and taking a balanced approach to our fiscal challenges.”

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