Tougher than the rest
The medical technologies industry is moving forward at an impressive rate, taking innovative products to new markets. This year, the Queen’s Awards for Industry includes eight awards to UK medtech companies: four for Innovation and four for International Trade. (To find out which company won awards in both categories, turn to page 18.) This issue of On Target
looks at the dynamic progress of the UK medtech industry across a range of product areas.
Our lead article, ‘Fat chance’, examines the implications for medtech of the looming obesity crisis. Steve Ainsworth considers three types of market opportunity linked to this critical public health issue: helping people to lose weight, helping them to deal with the direct impact of obesity on their lives, and helping to diagnose and treat the health complications of obesity. The NHS has identified the need for urgent action, and the healthcare industry needs to be ready to provide solutions.
We also examine a health issue linked to the obesity crisis: the increasing number of people suffering from sleep-disordered breathing. It’s been estimated that 75% of road accidents are caused by this condition. NICE’s recent approval of the use of CPAP devices to treat sleep apnoea is a major step forward for public health, and offers UK companies supplying these devices an opportunity to make a serious difference to millions of lives.
The two main drivers of healthcare need in the UK are the ageing population and the obesity crisis. Both are reflected in the growing and diversifying market for assistive technologies. Our report from Naidex 2008, the UK’s leading event for homecare, disability and rehabilitation, illustrates the dynamism of this healthcare sector. As the Government connects the NHS and retail models of provision, the doors are open to industry.
Another medtech sector that is moving ahead fast is plastic surgery. The public image of this area of healthcare has become divided: accident victims on one side, fashion victims on the other. As Katie Price (aka Jordan) bemoans the ‘ruin’ of her body, is cosmetic surgery losing face? In a special On Target
interview, Roger Green, President of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons, examines the issues affecting the provision, regulation and marketing of these services.
In ‘Breaking down barriers’, William D. Allan discusses the challenges of introducing high-tech products to the UK market. He links new Government measures to support medtech innovation to the sales strategies that are necessary to overcome customer anxiety in the face of the unknown. His message is clear: the more effectively you inform and empower the customer, the more likely you are to do business.
Knowledge is power. That’s why we at On Target
make it our business to bring you up-to-date and focused information on how the UK medical technologies industry is growing and evolving to meet the public need for choice and specialisation. Next year’s Queen’s Award for Industry could be within your grasp. The rewards of innovative and effective business practice already should be.Chris Ross