The year is nearing its end and as I look at the christmas tree being put up, the smell of pinewood slowly filling our office’s reception area, I cannot help but think that 2013 was a crucial year for patients, healthcare systems and Europe as a whole. This past year was dominated by one topic of mastodont proportions, but other actions, activities and achievements have been just as important to us.
2013 was the year where you could not open a trade magazine, Brussels EU news site or even Tier 1 media outlet without there being mention of the revision of the Medical Devices Directives (MDD) and In Vitro Diagnostics Directives (IVDD). And also both in Eucomed and EDMA the changes to both regulatory frameworks was the talk of the medtech town for the best part of the year. Thinking back on the key moments in this dossier, it has so far been a most interesting exchange with the European Commission, the European Parliament and now the Council. I, for one, am always in for a good discussion and both for the IVDD and the MDD this has been the case. And also as the discussions continue into 2014, EDMA and Eucomed will continue their work to make sure that patient safety, access to safe technology and an innovation-friendly environment continues to be characteristic of the European regulatory systems for medical devices and IVDs.
So if the new regulatory systems in which we will be operating continue to stimulate and reward innovation, then we as an industry have to change the way in which we innovate to ensure the sustainability of the healthcare systems in Europe. In that respect, 2013 really has been the year in which our industry has started to execute our strategic vision for the next five years. This is also what Boston Consulting Group concluded in their just released report “Boiling Point – The Need to Transform the Medtech Model in Europe”. This report was a collaboration between BCG and MedTech Europe and found that the medical technology industry in Europe has begun making the switch to value-based innovation. The medical technology industry will continue to bring innovations to market which not only offer benefits to patients, but also bring economical and societal value. We produced a dynamic infographic that, in 2 minutes, explains exactly what I mean. And for more in-depth material, make sure to download our Industry Strategy Toolkit at reforminghealthcare.eu
And as the strategy for our industry is moving forward, so is our strategy with MedTech Europe. Launched in 2012, this year has seen an even greater collaboration between EDMA and Eucomed. Both teams have started collaborating on topics where it makes sense, and many of the EDMA teams have joined forces with their Eucomed counterparts. And as teams and structures change, it was the perfect time to move closer to our healthcare stakeholders. That is why back in June both Eucomed and EDMA moved into new offices in the centre of Brussels, ideally located within walking distance from our policy partners in health. It is the external manifestation of an internal desire of both associations to further increase collaboration in the future.
In terms of Ehtics & Compliance, it is encouraging to see the progress being made on the Conference Vetting System. This tool, which evaluates third-party educational conferences against the criteria of the Eucomed Code of Ethics, has been expanded in 2013 to ensure that it covers as many industry-relevant conferences as possible. And plans are already underway to even further improve the system in 2014.
As I come to the end of my reflections, so does this blog… And although this last point I want to mention may not qualify as a MedTech Europe, EDMA or Eucomed achievement per sé, it is still a momentous occasion when 3 associations elect a new board. For MedTech Europe, Jürgen Schulze was elected new Chairman of the MedTech Europe Board, replacing Guy Lebeau who stepped down as Chairman in October. At the same time, Jürgen was re-elected EDMA President, while for Eucomed, the board was renewed with Rob ten Hoedt being elected Chairman of the Board of Eucomed. I take this opportunity to once again welcome the new Board members, and to thank Guy Lebeau for his tremendous contribution to both an ever more effective Eucomed, and to the growing unified voice of the medtech industry in Europe that is MedTech Europe.
So there you have it: 5 activities and moments that have shaped 2013. None of this would have been possible without the hard work, dedication and expertise of the teams at MedTech Europe, EDMA and Eucomed. I stand here feeling truly privileged to get to work with this group of terrific people whose flexibility and passion for this industry has given 2013 its unique flavour of great! And with that, lets close the books on 2013 and look forward to 2014, to what promises to be just as exciting, diverse and rewarding a year.
Talk to you in 2014!
All the best,
Serge Bernasconi, Chief Executive Officer MedTech Europe, EDMA and Eucomed