The Food and Drug Administration says it approved 98 percent of all high-risk medical devices submitted during the most recent fiscal year, the highest rate in at least 15 years. The list includes heart valves, cancer tests, gastric balloons, spinal implants and other devices used by doctors and hospitals around the country.
The 98 percent approval rate compares to 86 percent last year and 70 percent in 2012, according to recent FDA figures. It’s the highest level since at least 2001 and the first time the approval rate was in the 90s since 2005, when it was 90 percent. For the medical-device industry — including Chicago names Abbott Laboratories and Baxter International — the approvals could translate into billions of dollars worth of new revenue and profits.