The UK med-tech industry is in buoyant form, judging from the response and statistics on display at MEDTEC UK, held on 25–26 March 2009. Putting the size of the UK market into context, Tony Davis, CEO of Medilink West Midlands, in his show floor presentation, noted that 38 million people in the UK, that is, more than half the population, come into contact with a medical device every day. There are great opportunities for growth with the National Health Service budget set to increase by 4% per annum until 2011 taking it from £90 billion to £110 billion.
He provided some data taken from Medilink West Midlands’ direct industry survey of med-tech businesses in the region. The survey will be repeated every six months over three years and thereby produce some valuable data on companies’ status and output.
In the West Midlands region, company turnover grew by 6.12% for the period April 2007 to March 2009. On average, each company spends £98172 on research and development and employs 20.37 staff. He went on to report that 56% of those companies had launched a new product in the past 12 months and 49% of them are expecting an increase in sales between April 2009 and March 2010.
In terms of their sourcing strategies, 15.14% purchase locally; 46.85% purchase nationally and 37.97 purchase internationally. For component manufacturers willing to invest in a long term project, MEDilink West Midlands offers a partnering service.
Looking to future product development, he highlighted the need for the med-tech industry to address obesity and the management and treatment long term conditions, often in the home. Invention for Innovation (i4i) Programme, launched in July 2008, provides funding opportunities to accelerate new products. The programme is inviting project proposals that will investigate whether a piece of prior basic research, or an innovative use of an existing technology, could provide a solution to a current or emerging health care need.
The success of the MEDTEC UK exhibition was noted in a 15% increase in visitors on the first day alone. The interest in medical device manufacturing and technologies is enduring. Many exhibitors described 2008 as their best year ever and that business has been good in the first quarter of 2009.Annie Ellerton