Ahead of the MEDICA 2008, the UK Minister for Trade, Investment and Consumer Affairs, Gareth Thomas, explains why the UK still leads the way in medical technology innovation…
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the National Health Service (NHS) in Great Britain. Over the past 60 years, investment and innovation in the service has transformed healthcare delivery and, as a result, the NHS has been seen as a model of healthcare service world-wide. The NHS has also been at the forefront of groundbreaking science, incubating many innovative solutions, from the first test tube baby and regular heart transplant surgery to, more recently, the world’s first commercial multi-articulating bionic hand.
Scientific breakthroughs such as these were never thought possible 60 years ago, but there are many more to come – this September, the NHS introduced the first ever vaccine against cancer. All schoolgirls aged 12 are being offered the vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer.
Between 19 and 22 November, 293 UK companies responsible for some of the most recent advances in health technology will be attending MEDICA 2008, with many of them exhibiting with the support of UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), through its Trade Show Access Programme (TAP).
Among those British companies attending is Sheffield-based InterVene Ltd. The firm will be launching to the global market a range of new products including the InterVene Safety Needle – the world’s first manually retractable hypodermic needle, which reduces the risk of injury and contamination through contact, and which is already being used in the NHS.
Lancashire firm Lab M is a specialist in microbiology media. It will be launching three products at MEDICA this year, that isolate and identify an organism associated with infections in newborns fed on formula milk. These innovations could mean a significant reduction in the cases of infant meningitis and enteritis.
Fertility Focus Ltd
Fertility Focus successfully launched its FertiloscopeTM product, used for early diagnosis and treatment of a number of disorders of the female reproductive organs, at MEDICA last year. Following meetings at last year’s event, the company has already set up an extensive network of distributors, some of which are already actively selling the product in overseas markets.
With the goal of building the distribution network further at this year’s MEDICA, the company will also be presenting the Fertility Monitor, a unique method of identifying the maximum fertile period in a woman’s ovulatory cycle, and of diagnosing women who are unable to conceive naturally - providing an earlier route into corrective surgery or IVF.
Chelsea Technologies Group (CTG)
CTG will be announcing the development of its ‘on-site rapid diagnostics screening system’ at MEDICA this year. The product is designed to detect and identify micro-organisms following a terrorist attack. It can be rapidly deployed to any location in the event of unexplained clusters of acute illness or fatality, to screen for the presence of a range of micro-organisms that might be associated with a deliberate attack, allowing these to be ruled out as a potential threat early in any investigation. The product can also be adapted for other applications, such as the detection of potentially harmful chemicals in water supplies.
Like many other UK companies, these firms are fast acquiring an international reputation for their work in the medical technology field, and, through their attendance at MEDICA 2008, will be demonstrating the UK’s enduring position as a world leader in healthcare.
UK Trade & Investment will be available at stand 16/G10-3 to match international buyers with UK products and services, and to establish links with foreign businesses looking to set up in the UK. Click here to find out more about the UK companies and organisations attending MEDICA 2008.
Fast Facts: UK healthcare and medical technology
• The total UK healthcare market is valued at £155bn per annum
• One of the largest and fastest-growing medical device markets in Europe, valued £5.5bn per annum
• It’s Europe’s leading R&D centre, supported by world-class scientists, researchers, consultants and physicians
• It’s home to four of the world's top ten universities, 108 learning institutes and six prestigious Royal Colleges, adding to the UK’s pool of first-class clinicians, nurses, scientists and healthcare project managers
• Many of the postgraduate medical courses offered by UK universities produce outstanding industry-ready graduates - the University of Strathclyde’s unique Doctor of Engineering (EngD) in Medical Devices is just one example
• The public healthcare system, the National Health Service (NHS), is the world's largest single healthcare delivery service
• The NHS is embracing new technology and innovations to continue providing a cost-effective and modern healthcare service
• The NHS has incubated many innovative solutions – one such company is Touch Bionics, which developed the world’s first commercial multi-articulating bionic hand
• The NHS Innovation Hubs provide an opportunity to commercialise ideas from within the NHS
• It’s home to some of the world's largest medical device companies, such as GE, Medtronic, Johnson & Johnson and Reckitt
• A fusion of clinicians, biologists and engineers creates a vibrant environment for orthopedic companies such as Smith & Nephew, Biomet and DePuy
• Government public healthcare funding is increasing year-on-year
• It’s home to the most advanced laboratory medicine, pathology, drug discovery, disease management and genomic research
• It produces world-class over-the-counter and specialist in-vitro diagnostic products worth £285m per year
• It’s home to the world's best telehealth companies, such as Tunstall and Medtronic
• It has a clear and concise regulatory system respected as the benchmark worldwide for providing safety and innovation
• It’s home to leading digital and molecular imaging and ultrasound technology
• Advanced wound-care technology developed by companies such as Smith & Nephew and Ethicon (Johnson & Johnson Medical) have led to the UK's success in wound-care medication
About UK Trade and Investment
UK Trade & Investment is the UK Government's international business development organisation, supporting businesses seeking to establish in the UK and helping UK companies grow internationally. The services offered by UK Trade & Investment bring together a network of business sector specialists and support teams in British embassies and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) posts all around the world, as well as key experts in government departments across the UK. UK Trade & Investment works with a wide range of partner organisations in the UK, including Regional Development Agencies and the Devolved Administrations, Business Links, Chambers of Commerce and trade associations. For more information, visit the web site at: