SOUTH JORDAN, Utah (ABC4 News) – Vice President Mike Pence is set to tour Merit Medical during his Utah visit on Thursday.
According to its website, “Merit Medical is a leading manufacturer and marketer of disposable medical devices used in interventional, diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, particularly in cardiology, radiology, oncology, critical care, and endoscopy.”
The devices are manufactured in Utah, other parts of the United States and Mexico. They’re distributed out of Canada and then shipped to places throughout the world.
“The ability we have to move products across borders — we have 1,000 employees in Tijuana, we have 100 employees in Canada and we do tens of millions of dollars — hundreds of millions of dollars of revenues in just North America,” Fred Lamrpopoulos, founder of Merit Medical, told ABC4 News.
The vice president is in Utah to push the president’s proposed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The administration says it will lead to freer trade and boost economic growth in North America.
“Essentially some of the new issues to NAFTA,” Lampropoulos explained.
The Utah business owner wants to make sure Pence understands the need to not only have free trade but fair trade as he says other organizations are trying to copy their products.
“I think there are situations in various places in the world where our products are copied, our patents are violated — there are counterfeits. Those things really hurt our company and they need to be addressed.”
He also hopes to voice his issues with the medical tax.
“With the Affordable Care Act, they put a 2.3 gross receipts tax on all medical devices being produced inside the United States. It represented about 25-percent of our net income,” Lampropoulos told ABC4’s Brittany Johnson. “Think about anybody in any business and all of a sudden 25-percent of your income is taken away because you’re an industry,” he added.
“It’s a burden and makes American companies uncompetitive.”
If there’s time, the Merit Medical founder also hopes to make Pence aware of the company’s self-sustaining healthcare system.
“We’ve had no increases in our healthcare cost for five years for our employees and that’s pretty significant when everyone else is going up. I think that’s because of our clinic, our dispensary, our dental clinic, our wellness, and our assessment programs. We’ve taken healthcare into our own hands and we’ve had a dramatic affect on costs.”
Pence is scheduled to arrive in Salt Lake City on Wednesday from New Mexico where he is expected to be a special guest for a United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade event.
Pence also visited Utah during the 2016 campaign, urging the voters in who felt uncomfortable with then-candidate Donald Trump to “come home” and vote Republican. President Trump later won in the conservative state.