EHTI Research Takes Aim at “Innovation Paradox” in EU Medtech Procurement Policy

New research by the European Health Technology Institute for Socio-Economic Research (EHTI) puts forth five recommendations to address the impact of more centralized medical technology procurement policies among European health systems on product innovation. The EHTI’s report, Resolving the Innovation Paradox of MedTech Procurement: Five Lessons from Research Outcomes, argues that moving toward centralized procurement processes has enabled health systems to reduce short-term costs at the expense of longer-term cost effectiveness via innovative treatment regimes. In order to get beyond this mindset prevalent among procurers, medical technology providers should carefully consider issues such as value perception, innovation models and barriers to new product adoption. First, EHTI recommends providers more clearly articulate the value their innovations offer—rather than just list technical features and expect clients to infer value—in order to successfully commercialize their products. Second, providers should identify communities of practice most relevant to their products, and deploy their marketing and sales efforts accordingly. Third, better recognition of barriers to adoption related to increasing use of cost-control measures and more difficult product differentiation would allow managers to plan earlier and more effectively to overcome those barriers. Fourth, the EHTI identifies the growing use of Health Technology Assessments (HTAs) across the EU as a challenge to manufacturers of innovative medical technologies and devices, primarily because HTAs in their current form have been designed largely for pharmaceutical products. As such, providers should persistently and constructively suggest HTA bodies develop new methodologies to address significant differences between pharmaceutical and medical technology products. Fifth, successful product commercialization includes not only initial adoption rates but also sustained ones, particularly as development costs grow and product lifecycles shrink. Accordingly, providers should include analysis of product sustainability in their launch plans.

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