The build up to last week’s MedTech Forum in Brussels was frenetic for the Eucomed team and left us all exhausted for the weekend. The new week brings time for reflection and some satisfaction at a job well done. It was always our objective to generate a high level of informed debate and bring stakeholders together from different perspectives. Many have sent me notes saying how much they learned from their involvement and this, surely, is the acid test of success for a gathering which is just into its third year.
Of the many highlights was the clear invitation to the sector to engage in the innovation initiatives that are core to Europe 2020 and, in particular the flagship initiative on healthy ageing which was announced just before the conference. Those in the industry know the enormous impact that the medical technology sector has on improving the lives of the millions of citizens in their later lives. Most of us have friends and relatives whose lives have been revitalised by orthopaedic implants, intra-ocular lenses or pacemakers. These are the headline items which excite the science and innovation pages of our newspapers but there are many, many more inventions that liberate the chronically impaired and allow them to lead full and productive lives. These include advanced woundcare and incontinence products that allow people to get out and about and socialise in ways that were not possible before and free them from social isolation. Michael Cogswill, the para-Olympic sailor who spoke at our dinner, is one such individual who owes his very life to acute care devices, allowing him to live a full and rich life, and to pursue his dreams.
Another highlight for me was the perspective of Professor Sweder van Wijnbergen, an eminent economist, who made a very clear case for the exceptional return on investment that our technology has delivered in a time when life expectancy has extended rapidly and health system efficiency and effectiveness has improved substantially. It is the untold story that we need to do a better job of communicating.
One participant of a panel sent me a note saying how much they had enjoyed participating and, more importantly, what they had learned about the perspectives of the other panellists. This is the goal of the MedTech Forum; to engage, to learn and to build new relationships which allow all to contribute to this vital and worthwhile endeavour that all of us are involved in. It is about the transformation of people’s lives and let us not forget that.
– John Wilkinson, Eucomed Chief Executive