Europe needs to invest in IVDs during times of austerity

According to EDMA’s 2012 European In Vitro Diagnostics (IVD) Market Statistics Report, the in vitro diagnostics market in Europe has decreased 2.2% in 2012. These results had been predicted in the previous EDMA report released for 2011, given austerity measures to cut costs in health expenditure. However, a decline in revenue for IVDs might have bad effects in the health of Europeans: there is good reason to believe that governments should invest in IVDs when trying to save money in healthcare.

As governments have cut costs in the whole healthcare sector in Europe to address the financial downturn affecting the continent, the €10.7 billion revenue of the IVD market continues to represent 0.8% of European healthcare expenditure. This translates to €20.7 per person per annum.

A decline in IVD revenue could be bad news for equality in healthcare across Europe, and ultimately lead to higher costs from undiagnosed illnesses in the future. World Health Organisation’s recent 161-page report The European health report 2012: Charting the way to well-being confirms, “The contributing factors [to the decline in premature mortality from colon cancer] include the effects of screening, early diagnosis and more effective treatment schemes. Ensuring that the benefits of these practices are available across the European Region is one priority in the fight against premature mortality,”

The effects of the decline were strongest in Greece, Poland, and Portugal, where there was a double-digit decrease in IVD revenue. Italy, Germany, France, and Spain, which form around 60% of the European market, faced single-digit declines in IVD revenue, having a large negative effect in the overall European growth rate. Nevertheless, the IVD market grew in some countries, with the largest growths in Romania, United Kingdom, Norway, Belgium, and Bulgaria. Reimbursements for IVDs have declined in various countries. Germans, Greeks, Italians and Hungarians are spending increasingly more on diagnostics out-of-pocket.

Helene Washington, Chairwoman of EDMA’s Market Research Committee has followed the European IVD market for many years and has noted that situation for the IVD industry has become harsher, especially in countries in southern Europe where strong price pressure and late payments pose a major challenge to IVD suppliers.

A further decline of 2% is expected in 2013. Still, the IVD market is expected to increase in some countries, with the Czech Republic and Poland leading the way.

A full report on the country-specific macroeconomic and health expenditure data on the European IVD market can be found here.

-Serge Bernasconi, Chief Executive Officer, EDMA 

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