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MLive: Stryker shows U.S. Rep. Upton devices targeting opioid epidemic

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Washington, July 5, 2018 | Tom Wilbur (202-225-3761) | comments
Stryker shows U.S. Rep. Upton devices targeting opioid epidemic
July 3, 2018 

PORTAGE, MI -- U.S. Congressman Fred Upton held up a tiny device that looks and acts like a vehicle jack, but instead of getting a car back on the road, it is meant to provide a treatment option for someone with back pain. 

"It's like a jack on a tire," Upton said during a tour of Stryker Instruments on July 3. The device, which is not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration, elevates compression on the spine to correct a painful condition. 

It's called the The Spine Jack, said Spencer Stiles, president of Stryker Instruments, and the company hopes to get approval sometime in the next quarter. 

It's an example of the devices Upton said the 21st Century Cures Act, which was signed into law in December of 2016, is meant to encourage. The encourages faster approval for medications, cures, and medical devices, and Upton said it's also having an impact on businesses. 

"It's had a very positive impact, particularly on employers here," Upton said, mentioning Perigo, Pfizer and Stryker, and said the legislation is creating jobs. 

The Spine Jack aims to correct the cause of back pain, rather than just treating the symptoms, Upton said, and is meant to reduce the need for painkiller medication. 

It's made of titanium, Stiles said, and designed to last a patient's lifetime. 

The company also showed off Cactus, a secure disposal system meant for use in hospitals that allows medical providers to deposit pills, liquids and patches, and a chemical reaction inside the device renders the drugs inert. 

The Cactus, which is in use in hospitals, including Three Rivers Health, has an alarm that sounds if it is improperly accessed. The chemicals inside it will make a person sick if they try to break into the device, according to Stryker. 

Stryker bought the company that produces Cactus in 2017, and is now working on a next-generation version of the device. 

The opioid epidemic affects all kinds of people, and Stryker is proud to be able to work on the types of products that can help address some of the concerns, Stiles said. 

"We play a small role, but one we think is really, really important," he said. 

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