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The Medical Technology Industry

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The medical technologies industry is one of constant evolution with annual growth of 5 to 7% on a market of some €220 billion, 50% of which of European origin.

The origins of modern medical technology can be traced to IX century, but it really took off between 1980 and 2000 with the extension of the use of imaging technologies (CT-Scan, MRI, etc.) and prosthetics. The decade 200-2010 bought the emergence of robots in medicine and medical devices (1).incorporated into computerised systems. Nowadays we find MD used for prediction, prevention, diagnosis and the care of many illnesses. They are also to be found in the treatment of functional disabilities that would have been science fiction a few decades ago. Whilst some advances are the result of specific research, others are technologies from other industries adapted to medical purposes.

(1) Medical Devices (MD) are taking an ever more important part in medicine; from the care of fractures to the diagnosis of AIDS through joint replacements that would be impossible without them.

Medical Technologies (Medtechs) are defined as “everything which is not medicine” and extend from consumables and implants – such as catheters, hip and knee replacements, re-usable material and medical equipment.

Life cycles in this industry tend to be very short; innovations step on the heels of previous advances with imaging technologies taking the lead in recent years. Very often the use of these technologies is user driven which leads to restructuring of care systems.

Eucomed data the MD market represented some $167 billion in the world in 2008, more than double that of 2001. Currently the market for MD is around $220 billion a third of which is from the pharmaceutical industry 80% of which is to be found in USA and Europe.