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Exploratory process on the future of the medical devices sector

Background

The medical devices industry constitutes a key sector for healthcare. It is one of the most innovative sectors, improving and saving lives every day by providing innovative solutions for diagnosis, prevention and treatments. The medical devices industry is also a major employer in Europe. However these companies face challenges of national, European and international dimensions that may have an impact on their innovation capacity and their competitiveness. These difficulties might have consequences on the health of European citizens.

An exploratory process on the future of the medical devices sector has been put in place over the second semester 2009 to map the existing public health and industrial challenges in the sector and investigate possible topics of reflection at the European level. This process has provided for industry, users, and consumers of medical devices with an opportunity to share existing challenges.

Objective

The objective of the exploratory process on the future of the medical devices sector was to gather at the end of the process an overview of existing public health and industrial challenges, to identify current dynamics of the industry and highlight key topics of interest at the European level which has resulted in a set of suggested themes of potential further reflection adopted by the members of the exploratory process.

Members

The exploratory process was chaired by the Commission services.

The membership represented both private and public health interests with the involvement of the following stakeholders:

  • EUCOMED: Trade association representing the medical technology industry
  • EDMA: European Diagnostic Manufacturers
  • COCIR: European Coordination Committee of the Radiological, Electromedical and Healthcare IT Industry
  • EUROM I: European Optical Industry committee
  • EUROM VI: European Industrial Federation committee on Medical Technology
  • EHIMA: European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association
  • EUROMCONTACT: European contact lens and lens care industry’s association
  • FIDE: The Federation of the European Dental Industry
  • CPME: The Standing Committee of European Doctors
  • UEMS: European Union of Medical Specialists
  • ESC: European Society of Cardiology
  • EFORT: The European Federation of National Association of Orthopaedics and Traumatology
  • ESR: European Society of Radiology
  • HOPE: The European Hospital and Healthcare
  • EPF: The European Patient’s Forum
  • BEUC: The European Consumers’ Organisation
  • ESIP: The European Social Insurance Platform
  • AIM: Association Internationale des Mutualités
  • PGEU Pharmaceutical Group of the European Union
  • EFCC: European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine
  • CED: Council of European Dentists
  • EAHP: European Association of Hospital Pharmacists

Experts have also been invited to contribute on their personal capacities according to their field of expertise.

Structure

In order to steer the process in a given way, the heads of the stakeholders organisations involved were invited twice, to open and to close the exploratory process.

The process was organised around two discussion sessions with representatives of the stakeholders organisations involved and experts. In addition to a plenary session, the participants have explores more in depth challenges covered within three distinct work streams.

  • Future challenges and opportunities for public health and medical technologies developments
    This visionary work stream provided the overarching high level framework for the discussions. This work stream has considered the future challenges of public health systems and how the medical devices industry could respond to them, with a particular focus on emerging needs (e.g. developing a shared understanding of future healthcare goals), increasing expectations (e.g. overcoming health inequalities), societal changes (e.g. ageing society) and the emergence of new medical technologies (e.g. potential of the e-health technologies).
  • Balance between the patients’ needs and financial sustainability
    This work stream covered all the challenges of access to medical devices for the European citizen. These included issues such as how to measure appropriately the value of medical devices, how to enhance better access of patients to medical devices looking at the different factors including pricing and reimbursement policies. Challenges of the purchasing systems and payment mechanisms were looked at in that context.
  • Competitiveness and Innovation of the medical devices industry
    This work stream investigated what are the global innovation and competitiveness challenges faced by the medical devices industry, including aspects of R&D, emerging technologies and green economy. It also covered aspects linked to the position of Europe in the world, both in the field of trade and regulatory cooperation. Finally, challenges specifics for SMEs were looked at.

Final report of the exploratory process on the future of the medical devices sector