Bloomberg – The United States has a shortage of a $20 billion medical imaging equipment industry, but it has no one to buy it from, the head of the Federal Trade Commission said on Wednesday.
“I don’t know if we’re in a situation where the marketplace is saturated,” Ajit Pai, commissioner of the FTC, said during a panel discussion on consumer protection.
“It’s really difficult to do any of this with a single buyer.”
In the past few years, the U.S. government has spent $16.4 billion on the equipment industry.
But the demand for this equipment is so great that it has made it a highly competitive market, Pai said, calling it a “fundamental challenge” for the government.
Pai is also calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to develop new rules to make it easier for manufacturers to acquire the devices.
“We need to do more to incentivize them to get into this market,” he said.
“We’re not in a position right now to do it.”
Pai, a Republican appointed by President Donald Trump, is known for his pro-business stance, and his agency is already trying to boost the medical imaging industry.
In 2017, the FCC made it easier to purchase imaging equipment from medical devices manufacturers by requiring that the devices have to meet the FCC’s safety and quality standards, which the agency says it’s working on.
The agency is also working on rules that would make it harder for a medical device company to make a deal with a patient, which could hurt their business.
In March, Pai proposed a bill that would allow the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to sell equipment to a company for as little as $150,000.
But Pai has yet to get the support of the other members of the commission, who are skeptical of his proposals, and the bill has been blocked in the Senate by Republicans.
The FCC has also pushed back on proposals to allow hospitals to sell imaging equipment, saying hospitals could still sell devices to the public at a lower price, but that the agency has no authority to do so.
Paine said during the panel that there’s “a real problem” with hospitals buying imaging devices, and said he hopes that Congress will act on a resolution that will give the FCC authority to make this kind of sale.