Assessing impact medtech on rising healthcare expenditure requires looking beyond cost alone

Brussels, 11 June 2013 - MedTech Europe, the alliance of European Medical Technology Industry Associations, welcomes new research from the European Health Technology Institute (EHTI) confirming that there is no uniform relationship between medtech innovation and an increase in healthcare expenditure. The impact of medical technology on healthcare costs is a result of multiple, dynamic factors, such as whether a technology expands the number of treatable conditions, improves the capacity of the system to treat more patients, or extends life, inducing additional years of healthcare consumption. Consequently this impact varies greatly and can result in novel technologies being cost-saving, cost-neutral or cost-increasing.

At a time where public budgets have been under increasing pressure and scrutiny, public spending on healthcare has grown at a faster pace in the last decade than the economic growth. Although there is awareness of the impact of demographics and chronic diseases on the healthcare budget, progress in medical technology is often seen as a key driver of this rising healthcare expenditure. The findings of research by the European Health Technology Institute (EHTI), however, stipulate that viewing the relationship between rising cost and medtech as static and straightforward is not productive and a more balanced view is needed.

These findings of a broad literature review of 86 publications including both qualitative and quantitative research indicate that the relationship between rising healthcare expenditure and medical technology progress depends on many factors including the availability of alternative interventions, characteristics of the patient population, the treatment setting or whether the therapy is for a previously untreatable condition.

"A technology that increases costs in one setting or in one group of patients can be cost-neutral and even cost-saving under differing circumstances;" lead researcher Dr. Corinna Sorenson said on the EHTI research findings. "Moreover, even if a given technology increases costs, it may increase benefits by an even greater amount and therefore be considered a worthwhile investment. A sound and comparative evaluation of technologies is needed to optimise investments in healthcare."

The research also noted that the term 'medical technology' is often used in studies to cover a wide range of interventions, including novel drugs in areas such as cancer, many of which greatly add to costs. For medical technology not including pharmaceuticals, the healthcare budget invested has remained stable over the last decade.

"Our 5-year industry strategy, endorsed by our entire membership, confirms the medtech industry's commitment to value-based innovation as a way to steer Europe's healthcare systems onto a sustainable path while ensuring improved patient outcomes. To achieve this, Europe needs smart investment in health which also considers patient and broader socioeconomic benefits," said Serge Bernasconi, MedTech Europe's Chief Executive Officer.

In the Europe 2020 initiative policymakers call for  the region to be a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy fuelled by a healthy population. The European Commission recognises that health is a precondition for economic prosperity and efficient investing in health can promote growth.

An ageing population, increased incidence of chronic diseases and greater patient demand will continue to be factors impacting healthcare expenditure. Only when we no longer see medical technology solely as a cost driver, but rather as a partner in Europe's health and economy will we be able to realise the promise of the Health Strategy.


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About MedTech Europe

MedTech Europe is an alliance of European medical technology industry associations. The Alliance was founded by EDMA, representing the European in vitro diagnostic industry, and Eucomed, representing the European medical devices industry. Other European medical technology associations are welcome to join the Alliance, established to represent the common policy interests of its members more effectively and efficiently.

Our mission is to make value-based, innovative medical technology available to more people, while supporting the transformation of healthcare systems onto a sustainable path. We promote a balanced policy environment that enables the medical technology industry to meet the growing healthcare needs and expectations of its stakeholders. In addition, we demonstrate the value of medical technology by encouraging our members to execute the industry’s 5-year strategy. For more information, visit

About EDMA

EDMA, European Diagnostics Manufacturers Association, advocates for the interests of the in vitro diagnostics (IVD) industry and its enormous contribution to transforming healthcare systems by improving healthcare efficiency and reducing costs. EDMA’s strength lies in its close co-operation with European institutions, patients groups, trade associations, health professionals, and academia, working together to shape EU policy that will most impact the lives of Europeans and reinforce the European IVD industry’s voice globally. From small businesses to major corporations, the European in vitro diagnostic industry is a market worth over €10.5 billion. Driven by research and development, 95% of the industry is comprised of small and medium size enterprises and approximately €1 billion per year is reinvested in R&D. For more information, visit

About Eucomed

Eucomed is the European medical technology industry association. Its mission is to make modern, innovative and reliable medical technology available to more people. Eucomed represents directly and indirectly 25,000 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 95% of this sector. The market size is estimated at roughly € 100 billion while around 8% of sales revenue is ploughed back into research and development. The industry employs more than 575,000 highly skilled workers. For more information visit