Updated on 29 April 2013
What are the major industry-related policy developments that have taken place in the past year in Australia?
In the last few months in Australia, the federal government has released a draft of new policy positions to strengthen the manufacturing sector. MTAA has contributed to reviews and the setting of the policy agenda on a state and national level and released a major policy paper on the sustainability of the Australian medical technology industry. Medical technology companies will benefit from the developments of industry precincts and other initiatives that are currently being implemented by government.
What is the number of MNCs and domestic companies in the medical technology industry? How many new domestic companies have been formed in the last two years?
Overall there are about 550 companies in the medical technology sector. Additionally there are approximately 60 IVD companies and approximately 50 companies supplying the dental market. There are a range of Australian manufacturers of medical devices like Cochlear, Sirtex, Simavita and Signostics. However, the vast majority of products supplied in Australia are imported by subsidiaries of large multinational companies or by independent distributors. Approximately one-third of the industry is less than 10 years old which reinforces its rapidly evolving nature.
What are the major challenges faced by the industry and how is MTAA helping to deal with the hurdles?
The major challenges for the Australian medical technology sector are similar to those faced by other comparable developed countries. With health budgets under strain through increased utilization, an ageing population and increased chronic disease, reimbursement for the supply of medical technology is constrained. Access to market for new technologies is also an issue with challenging pathways for the introduction of technology.
Another issue is the increase in requirements for data and evidence for regulatory approval and the establishment of a range of post market surveillance initiatives and device registries. A particular hurdle for Australian manufacturers is the mandated requirement to use the Australian regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, for conformity assessment for medical devices manufactured in Australia. MTAA has been an active industry voice in the reform discussions.
What is the plan of action of MTAA for the next two years?
MTAA continues to advocate on behalf of the medical technology industry for better access to life saving and sustaining technologies. A particular focus for MTAA continues to be the establishment of a clear path to market for newer technologies that have a proven health benefit as well as good cost-benefit data. The smart use of modern technology in areas like home care and remote monitoring can help reduce expensive hospital admissions as well as keep patients at home for longer. In 2013 MTAA is working on policies that show the cost effectiveness of these devices.