BVMed Annual Report: Healthy Returns, but Stronger Regulatory Support for Innovation Needed
In its latest annual report, German medical device industry trade group BVMed (Bundesverband Medezintechnologie) stakes out the group’s positions on German health policy, financing issues and medical device legislation, and also provides results of BVMed’s annual membership survey.
According to the survey, the German medical technology sector saw 5.5% sales growth in 2010, and 80% of respondents expect higher sales rates this year; profits will be challenged, on the other hand, by more expensive raw material costs and higher rates of outstanding debt.
In light of European economic challenges as well as increasing prices for raw materials, BVMed members expressed tempered optimism regarding 2011 results—48% of firms expect better returns this year, while only 17% anticipate lower returns.
Although respondents generally rated Germany highly as a medical device market, they also identified political and financial issues they believed should be improved in order to boost efficiencies in their view. To wit, 60% of firms cited reduced bureaucracy and faster decision-making processes as their top concern, and less than a quarter of respondents expressed satisfaction with the current German reimbursement system.
BVMed also used its annual report lays out positions the organization argues are necessary to better support innovative medical technologies in Germany. Among the group’s suggestions:
- Formation and proper funding of an “innovation pool” to support independent assessment of medical devices’ benefits
- Allowance for greater industry participation in the deliberations of the Joint Federal Committee overseeing Germany’s health care system
- Expansion of innovation-friendly practices applied to the German inpatient sector to the outpatient sector as well
- Keeping the Medical Devices Directive’s “New Approach” to regulating medical devices in place as the EU considers its MDD Recast
Give the size of the German medical device market—as well as the degree of influence Germany wields within the EU—how successfully BVMed pursues its goals will no doubt shape relationships between regulators and industry across Europe.