Thursday, 17 September 2009
400 experts attend Eucomed MedTech Forum
'Living until 100 will be commonplace'
Brussels, 8 October - Today sees the end of Eucomed's MedTech Forum - the largest gathering in Europe of its kind, bringing together over 400 thought leaders from policy and scientific communities as well as key players from the medical technology industry. The event saw key stakeholders and policy makers debating the most pressing medical technology issues that need immediate attention and action.
Three work streams from the European Commission
Many of the issues raised during the MedTech Forum will be further explored through the Exploratory Process on the future of the Medical Device sector, which was officially launched by DG Enterprise and Industry on 2 October of this year. The European Commission invited the Medtech industry and other stakeholders such as patients, health professionals and insurers to discuss pressing healthcare and industry challenges under three areas: Challenges and opportunities for public health and medical technology developments,Balance between the patient's needs and financial stability and Competitiveness and innovation. In short, the objective of this multi-stakeholder exercise is to identify potential work areas for the new European Commission.
Effective and appropriate investment
'In an increasingly technologically enabled world, medical technology will continue to have a positive impact in ensuring healthcare systems generate better outcomes at lower total cost,' said Guy J. Lebeau, M.D., Chairman, Eucomed Board. 'Effective and appropriate investment in medical technologies will be central to the delivery of sustainable healthcare that meets citizens' expectations. To achieve this, appropriate incentives need to be introduced that will stimulate continuous innovation both on the supply and the healthcare delivery side.'
Various sessions throughout the week
Various sessions took place during the three day event, focusing on myriad issues including the effect of Health Technology Assessment on the quality of healthcare with all experts agreeing that huge disparities exist and the lack of harmonisation across the European Union must be eradicated. It was ultimately agreed that using medical technology is, in the longer term, a lot more cost effective than a lifetime of taking various powerful and potent drugs.
The debate also arose that all stakeholders need to be involved in approving new technologies this means patients, politicians, carers and governments - all working together to 'reach a common goal'. Meanwhile, Mrs Giulia Del Brenna of the European Commission stated that Public Procurement is crucial to bringing political attention to the medical technology sector and said it can 'very much help the situation'.
Medical innovation was another hot topic at the forum. Dr Mary Baker, President of the European Federation of Neurological Associations stated that it is currently focused on 'wants and not needs'. She added that all stakeholders in the industry should 'work together and forget competitiveness'.
Other key areas of focus included an invigorating presentation about the challenges faced as a result of the economic crisis and inequalities in healthcare systems. In fact, most MedTech companies are surviving despite the current crisis but are more concerned about ageing populations, the increase in communicable diseases and lack of staff to deal with the upcoming issues. It was also revealed that in at Sweden at least, every second baby currently born will have a lifespan of 100 years meaning that healthcare systems will soon be stretched to the maximum.
Thus an immediate call for more investment and innovation in the sector was by all agreed to be crucial.
Eucomed also took the opportunity to launch its Virtual Museum of Medical Technology where visitors can see online the development of the medical technology industry over the years. The Virtual Museum is available at www.medtechmuseum.eu
Eucomed is the Voice of the medical technology industry in Europe. Eucomed represents directly and indirectly 4500 designers, manufacturers and suppliers of medical technology used in the diagnosis, prevention, treatment and amelioration of disease and disability. Small and medium sized companies make up more than 80% of this sector. The European medical technology industry invests some 5.8 billion in R&D and employs near to 530,000 highly skilled workers. The mission of Eucomed is to improve patient and clinician access to modern, innovative and reliable medical technology.
Director Communications and External Affairs