It’s no surprise that topping The Dark Report’s list of Top Ten Most Important Stories of 2008 for the laboratory industry is the successful repeal of the Medicare Part B Laboratory Services Competitive Bidding Demonstration Project. Across the nation, labs feared the consequences were federal health officials to have implemented the flawed scheme that was scheduled to commence in the San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos SMA (statistical metropolitan area) by July 1, 2008.

Our list of the Top Ten Most Important Lab Industry Stories of 2008 leads off the latest issue of The Dark Report, published last week and arriving at client’s locations here and abroad. This annual listing is closely-watched because it provides a clear assessment of major trends unfolding in laboratory medicine.

Editor-In-Chief Robert Michel, after explaining why repeal of Medicare Competitive Bidding was the single most important development during 2008, characterized the balance of 2008 as otherwise a quiet and relatively uneventful year. He wrote “No other story on the Top Ten list approaches the magnitude of importance and implications of Medicare competitive bidding repeal. However, that is a good thing because it means that, over the course of 2008, there were few events that represented disruptive or unwelcome change to the majority of laboratories and pathology group practices.”

In fact, Editor Michel picked the huge increase in the volume of Vitamin D testing as the second most important lab industry story for 2008. “This phenomenon is directly related to widespread media stories about: 1) the alarming increase in the number of people with Vitamin D deficiency; and, 2) the negative health consequences for individuals who are deficient in Vitamin D,” noted Michel in The Dark Report. “Attention to Vitamin D deficiency during the past two years shows how speedily a new clinical guideline can become accepted, particularly when it is something that is easy for consumers to understand.”

Top story number ten was described as “2008-Not a Year for Big Lab Deals as Relative Calm Rules Lab Market.” Michel observed that no major or disruptive laboratory acquisitions took place during the year. He noted how this was unusual for a trend that reaches back to the mid-1980s. However, it remains true that Wall Street is keenly interested in molecular diagnostics. That was reflected in the willingness of Roche Holdings (NYSE: RHHBY) to pay the premium price of $3.4 billion last April to acquire then $290 million Ventana Medical Systems. (See Dark Daily, “Roche Purchases Ventana by Offering Higher Price”, February 22, 2007).

Subscribers and readers of Dark Daily are invited to send in their picks for the most important medical laboratory stories for 2008, along with their reasons why the story is significant. We will publish the best of these submissions. E-mail to: rmichel@darkreport.com.

Related Information:

2008’s Top Ten Lab Stories Lacked Disruptive Impact