EU

Medical technology needs to communicate better about its value. Some people think it is the same as pharmaceutical healthcare. It is not. Medical technology has a different innovation approach, timeline and model. The European Union needs to communicate better about its value. Some people think it is the same as the national entities that make it up. It is not. The EU is different in scale, timeline and way of working. This may be a strange comparison to make. I do so because we have one major point of commonality. In the next 10 years, we must both recast our relationship with society and the narratives around our respective institutions / industry (although the European Union, being responsible for more, has a much wider task). Both of us are contending with finding a new place in the world. For Europe this means working out how the EU stays competitive vis-à-vis other superpowers. For medical technology this means understanding how digitisation will change the systems of health, wellbeing and market access. With the above in mind, I would like to submit a few thoughts on the recent EU elections: · The new Commission: The Commission needs to get vocal. This institution keeps Europe open for business. But few, outside experts, understand or connect with it. First, we need a leader who represents the Commission vocally and connects with the wider public. Second, there needs to be an ambitious agenda that captures society’s imagination. There are few more important concepts to European citizens’ than health. An ambitious health and wellness agenda would be a meaningful place to start if the Commission wanted to recast how people see it. · The new Parliament: People across Europe feel disconnected. This is expressing itself in a variety of ways. The new European Parliament must never...
I’ve always believed that you get what you pay for, and digital health is no exception. Despite the promises of digital transformation to make healthcare services better, safer and more efficient, analogue healthcare services – visits to the doctor/hospital, therapies and drugs – have proved remarkably resilient. The reason seems to me quite obvious: analogue services are paid and reimbursed by European publicly-funded healthcare systems. Digital services such as mHealth apps, personal health management, remote monitoring, diagnostic algorithms etc. are often not. That is the premise of the paper “ Proposed Guiding Principles for Reimbursement of Digital Health Products and Solutions ” that the European Commission’s eHealth Stakeholder Group (eHSG) just released. The eHSG was set up in 2015 as a Commission expert group contributing to the development and implementation of eHealth policy at the EU level, and to provide input on the Commission’s eHealth-related activities. The paper was developed by a small band of stakeholders including industry, providers, healthcare professionals and pharmacists in a series of workshops and cooperative exchanges over the better part of two years, before it was reviewed and validated by the full eHSG in 2018/19. Although I personally joined the effort only after September when I became part of MedTech Europe’s team, I’m pleased to say that my colleagues and members at MedTech Europe have contributed quite substantially to this important work. The paper contains recommendations seeking to give guidance to healthcare authorities about principles and criteria to consider when making funding decisions about digital health. They call for specific criteria, funding, guidelines for evidence generation, and specific instruments for assessing digital health. I detect a growing awareness that digital health reimbursement is a major issue holding back deployment. Sebastian Gaiser, chair of the MedTech Europe Digital Health Committee, observes: “European funding and reimbursement systems...
Patrick Boisseau will be a speaker at the MedTech Forum on 16/5. Find more about the programme here ! As European research and innovation funds extend their focus towards diagnostics, digital and medical technologies, medtech companies must be ready to engage. A major future EU public-private partnership in research and innovation is currently in gestation. I believe it could help to address some of the biggest challenges in modern healthcare – and its scope will be wide enough to welcome medical devices and diagnostics companies, large and small. Let’s consider some historical context. The EU research and innovation budget is significant. The Horizon 2020 programme, which ends next year, has a budget of around €80 billion. One of the key elements, as far as healthcare is concerns, has been the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI). This public-private partnership was funded by the European Commission and through in-kind contributions from pharmaceutical companies. In its first iteration, it had a total budget of €2 billion. The current incarnation which ends next year, has a budget of more than €3 billion. While IMI has, for more than 10 years, fostered collaboration and cooperation between pharmaceutical companies in unblocking bottlenecks in the medicines development pipeline, I expect the next big ‘PPP Health’ to go further. Modelled on the IMI structure as well as the ECSEL partnership for the micro-electronics sector, it will encompass pharma, biotech and medtech. This makes perfect sense: the solutions to the health challenges we face as a society do not lie in one industry – the future is patient-centred and integrated, with a significant role for digital technologies. I expect this approach to be welcomed by the medtech sector, particularly if it is accompanied by supports that will help start-ups and entrepreneurs tap into funds that may previously have seemed distant...