European medical technology sector weathering storm but expecting tougher times

8 June 2009

A recent survey of medical technology manufacturers across Europe has found that the recession was having a significant negative impact on only 20% of the companies.

The survey was conducted by the European medical technology business association, Eucomed, of 100 top executives of European companies.

The vast majority of he companies are nevertheless anticipating tougher times due to the downturn and restructuring of healthcare systems. Over 80% of respondents agree that hospitals are struggling financially, price pressure is increasing, and tendering and contracting conditions have worsened.

Many executives said they have already started preparations to keep solvent, with half indicating they 'feel well prepared'. Meanwhile, two-thirds are controlling costs by making redundancies or introducing hiring freezes.

Overall, the outlook is one of optimism. While the majority of respondents said that investments have remained the same or have only been moderately reduced, approximately one-third say new business investment has actually increased.

Furthermore, some 40% of executives identified pockets of growth for existing products and stated that they are confident about continued product launches over the next five years. Finally, most see attractive opportunities in mergers and acquisitions, and business development.

According to John Wilkinson, Chief Executive of Eucomed, "The outlook for the medical technology industry remains relatively promising. It is, however, clear that the industry is bracing itself for the potential effects of the financial crisis to work through the system.

"In these times of financial uncertainty, it is to be hoped that the industry's customers see innovation as a key mechanism for responding to the pressures. The industry certainly has much to offer and appears committed to continue investment in research and development."

Bolstered by the initiatives undertaken to face a tougher environment, executives at medical product companies across Europe view the growth prospects of their companies positively. More than 50% expect over 5% growth for 2009 with two-thirds expecting more than 5% growth for 2010-11.

It appears that at least for now in European medical technology industry, the focus is on the future and on ensuring that businesses can develop and deliver medical products for the years to come.

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