Medical devices safe from hackers

The Hill’s Feb. 27 article “Medical devices could be lethal in hands of hackers” does not accurately describe the steps medical technology companies take to help ensure their products are protected from cybersecurity threats. This lack of context could give a false impression of the risks of connected medical devices’ susceptibility to hacking. There is also the potential that patients could unnecessarily decide to forgo use of an otherwise safe and effective technology.

Patient safety is the No. 1 priority of the medical technology industry, and manufacturers have in place numerous safeguards to ensure the security and integrity of their connected devices. All medical device manufacturers, as part of the work they do for product development and product approval, maintain a risk management system in which they evaluate potential risks — including cybersecurity risks — and the probability of those events taking place.

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The advent of connected technologies offers patients significant benefits, and the risk of a malicious cyberattack is low in comparison. Medical technology companies have taken steps to further reduce the already low risk of malicious hacking, including building device security into new product development processes; continual vulnerability testing and remediation; and ongoing risk assessments.

We commend and support the Food and Drug Administration’s efforts to raise awareness about potential cybersecurity concerns. We also agree with the FDA that medical technology cybersecurity is a shared responsibility among all stakeholders — manufacturers, hospitals, physicians, patients, etc. — and all parties need to be aware of the potential for cybersecurity breaches. The medical technology industry is committed to working with the agency, healthcare providers, the academic community, security experts and other stakeholders on potential ways to further ensure the continued safety and effectiveness of digital medical technologies.

From Janet Trunzo, senior executive vice president, technology and regulatory affairs, Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), Washington, D.C.


Univision decision disappointing

AT&T was disappointed when Univision decided last Thursday evening at midnight to pull their channels from our U-verse customers. To be clear, Univision alone controls how and when pay TV customers can see their local and national channels. They alone have withheld their programming, purposefully harming the communities we both serve, rather than allowing us to continue carrying their programming while negotiations continue.

We asked and urged Univision not to pull their signals and to continue negotiating, but they declined our requests. When little progress was made on the negotiations, we took prompt action and requested Univision to do the right thing and air the Univision co-sponsored Democratic presidential debate for our U-verse customers. They said yes, and some Univision stations are temporarily back on. However, Univision continues to black out their other channels — UniMas, Galavision, Univision Deportes, Bandamax, FOROtv, De Pelicula, De Pelicula Classico, Ritmoson, Telehit and tlnovelas — while negotiations between our companies continue.

Any assertion that AT&T is not willing to pay Univision fair market value for the content they deliver to U-verse subscribers is simply false. But rather than trade accusations in the press, we would prefer to continue negotiations to swiftly resolve this dispute. If Univision really cares about their audience, they will immediately restore all their channels to U-verse homes while we figure this out.

Celeste Carrasco, AT&T director of Federal Public Affairs, Washington, D.C.