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Global med-tech industry catching up to the United States (Morning Read)

Among today’s current medical news: new survey shows a meltdown in American med-tech might; why Steve Jobs has no healthcare privacy, chest thumping by Novartis to scare Roche; what employers want changed in healthcare reform, where whistleblower drugmaker suits thrive; and a case that there’s not enough information available for biotech companies.

Current medical news and unique business news for anyone who cares about the healthcare industry.

American med-tech dominance wanes? PwC’s latest Medical Technology Innovation Scorecard says the United States’ med-tech industry is losing ground in five key areas — including government reimbursement, locations for innovation and patients who need such treatments — to countries such as Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Japan and the United Kingdom.

No HIPAA for Steve Jobs. An argument to come clean about what’s ailing Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

It would be tough for anyone, particularly the many admirers of Jobs and his creations, to hear further details of what he is going through. But a single dose of clear and accurate health data would not be nearly so crushing as the endless trickle of desperate info-grubbing, speculation, and uncertainty that ensued every other time Apple has tried saying nothing — and that will surely ensue again if it continues to insist that Jobs’ health is no one else’s business.

Employer healthcare reform. Five items in U.S. healthcare reform employers want repealed:

  • Bans on employees using flexible spending accounts for non-prescribed, over-the-counter medications
  • The requirement to report the cost of healthcare coverage on W-2 statements
  • The $2,500 cap on flexible spending account contributions, which start in 2013
  • The excise tax on high-end “Cadillac plans”
  • The requirement to offer health insurance vouchers

Biosimilars BS from Novartis. Via IN VIVO: “The Jan. 10 announcement by Novartis’ Sandoz division of the start of Phase II trials of a biosimilar version of Roche’s rituximab (Rituxan) is beginning to look a bit like posturing.” So why do it? To scare Roche, says IN VIVO.

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The whistleblower lawsuit capital of the world… is Philadelphia.

Biotech information underload? Would a collaborative effort to share medical journals help startups keep up to date? “The information underload issue is certainly worth pondering, given that the overall number of new drugs approved by the FDA in 2010 was the lowest in several years, and the overall success rate in clinical trials is measured in the single digits for a wide variety of diseases.”

Dealflow and more. Aortic valve implant business Symetis raised $25.8 million; sickle cell anemia drugmaker Prolong Pharmaceuticals raised $30 million; Chinese inflammatory bowel disease and cancer company Hutchison MediPharma raised $12.5 million; HPV warts treatment company ViroXis raised $2.5 million; German drugmaker Noxxon Pharma raised $2.6 million; genomics company Ocimum Biosolutions raised $8 million;