© Shutterstock
© Shutterstock
The Medical Device Industry is in constant mutation and it is a very promising field. Nevertheless, it has to overcome some challenges related to healthcare economics and innovation. Mr. Singh, a former student of the Specialized Master in Biopharmaceutical Management at the ESCP Europe, is the Marketing Director at Covidien, a global healthcare products company and a leader manufacturer in medical devices. Throughout this interview, Mr.Singh gives us an overview about the future and innovation in the medical device industry.


How the medical device business model will change in the following years?

Companies will focus on reducing the total cost across the continuum of care (diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, etc.)

Moreover, the industry is highly fragmented and therefore there is a large scope for consolidation through mergers & acquisitions. Broad portfolio and a large sales and distribution network will provide significant competitive advantage.

In addition, models are evolving form user focus to a mix of user and payer focus.


Major future challenges for the Medical Device field? How should they be overcome?


-Slowing economic growth will put pressure on healthcare budgets leading to price erosion.      Companies need to differentiate through innovation and/or clinical outcomes.

-Innovation should demonstrate clinical and health economic benefits (value). Companies need to invest in developing/strengthening these capabilities.

-Price erosion and reuse of medical devices.


Do you think regulations in the Medical Device field should be loosened? In your opinion, do they represent a hurdle for innovation?


The primary goal of regulations is to protect the patients. They have to be made clear and transparent. However, strict regulations make the cost of innovation higher and sometimes delay access of new technology to patients. Regulators need to proactively work with companies on breakthrough and life saving/extending innovations.


In which area of Medical Device is innovation taking place the most?


Innovation is happening across all areas, especially in the following ones:


-Diagnostics and imaging

-Mobile-enabled active implantable devices / remote monitoring

-Minimally invasive surgery and robotics

-Customized Devices

-Home health care


Do emerging countries represent a big opportunity for the Medical Device market as they do for the Biotech/Pharma market or to lesser extent?


Emerging Markets are the single biggest opportunity for growth for medical device companies. The growth in these regions is upwards of 20% compared to 3-4% in OECD countries.


Is it more difficult for the medical device industry than for the pharma industry to become profitable? How long does it take on average?


It varies a lot and can take between 3 to 8 years and depends on the product/therapy and regulatory hurdles. In general it is much shorter than in the pharma.


Do you think that the excise tax of 2,3 % that took place last year in the US as part of ObamaCare will have a huge influence on the MD industry?


It’s going to negatively impact the industry as this tax cannot always be passed on to the customers. Companies will try to maintain their profitability by making cuts in R&D, Sales and Marketing, Physician Training expenses etc…

On the other hand, ObamaCare will increase medical access to a larger population and will have a positive impact on volumes.


Do you think the US will remain a leader of the MD development for a long time?


Yes, US will remain uncontested leader in medical devices innovation because of its infrastructure, highly trained professionals/entrepreneurs, liberty to price innovation and easier access to venture capital.


Could you mention some of the main features a MD company should have in order for it to be competitive nowadays?


Innovation and clinical outcomes are key for companies to differentiate their products/services from the competition. Furthermore, companies will have to constantly keep reducing their manufacturing costs and SG&A without compromising on quality or services. This can be achieved by embracing new technologies. Finally, companies should change their focus from selling products to selling therapy/solutions



Interview with Pankaj SINGH by Lucía BLANCO