Despite a challenging economic climate, the future for the medical technology industry is positive. The industry has been, and will continue to be, a major contributor to the health and quality of life of Europe’s citizens and the well-being of the EU economy. As Europe continues to deal with the demographic challenges posed by an ageing population, demand will increase, as older people and those with chronic diseases are the major users of medical technology.
The industry has already proved its worth; full open surgery for many operations has been replaced by techniques such as minimally-invasive surgery. These are commonplace nowadays, and continue to be improved and refined by new technologies. Patients can now expect better outcomes, shorter recovery times and a reduction in post-operative complications which would have seemed incredible only a few decades ago.
However, the future is not without its challenges. As governments introduce fiscal measures to reduce national deficits, healthcare expenditure will come under pressure. Therefore, the demand on industry to demonstrate the cost/benefit of its products will continue to grow. Health Technology Assessment (HTA) will increasingly be used to appraise and quantify the value of innovation.
Given the industry’s existing commitment to innovation, it should be well-placed to address these challenges. However it is important that the wider benefits of medical technology are acknowledged and recognised as a cost-effective way of delivering extra healthy years to citizens, assisting them in contributing to society for longer. Recognising and rewarding innovation will encourage the industry to continue to invest in finding improved solutions to unmet clinical needs and meeting the challenge of achieving cost-effective, sustainable healthcare systems. This in turn will also underpin the industry’s ongoing substantial R&D spending, keeping Europe at the forefront of medical technology development.