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Why the UK needs an industrial growth strategy for MedTech

Rahul Kapoor is Director of MedTech at CPI. Rahul’s experience has seen him hold senior positions at Johnson & Johnson, Janssen, Unilever, and digital health SME, Medic Spot Ltd. Rahul is an alumnus of the London Business School and the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.

The UK is not short of bright ideas. Our nation has a reputation for bringing the best minds together to plot a course for the future.

There is no clearer example of our country’s desire to innovate than in the MedTech industry. In the UK, the sector employs 145,600 people across 4,353 businesses, 4,802 sites and has a turnover of £30 billion. And the sector is only going to grow as MedTech becomes more embedded in the way healthcare is delivered

This all sounds like it’s going well, right? But there is a problem. While there is no shortage of great ideas, getting products to market is fraught with significant obstacles, which mean MedTech businesses have a greater risk of failure than other industries in the UK

A complex landscape

Over 90% of UK-based medical technology companies are small to medium enterprises (SMEs). Most of these businesses want to grow and expand in the UK, but they are faced with a complex regulatory and manufacturing landscape and a lack of resources to navigate a path through.

Surprisingly, there is very little support available to companies which would help connect them with specialist manufacturers. But there is also a lack of communication with government and regulators to ensure products can meet their all-important tests

This is nothing that cannot be overcome, but it is only exacerbated by the high cost of producing cuttingedge healthcare in the UK. For example, companies told us the cost of tooling can be up to five times cheaper in Asia.

These problems leave companies with very little choice. While they may want to remain in the UK as much as possible, many decide to move their operations overseas to see a return on their investment and realise the potential of their technology or innovation 

Creating a strategy

Recently, CPI published two reports, Challenges and Opportunities for UK MedTech Manufacturing Scale Up and An Action Plan: Driving Growth of the UK Digital Health Industry, which bring these issues to light and provide a plan for a successful and sustainable future for UK MedTech companies.

The reports call for an industrial growth strategy for MedTech in the UK to prevent us falling behind other nations. It is vital to the industry for us to be able to compete on the global stage and for companies to succeed.

The strategy must help to lift the barriers identified in the reports and allow the UK to tap into the full potential which health technologies offer both investors and clinicians. 

And of course, an industrial MedTech strategy is important to show the way forward to anyone working in healthcare so that we can deliver life-changing technologies to the people that need them most. This isn’t just about ensuring companies get to market faster and see a return on investment. 

As one respondent highlights in the report: “It was my big goal to make (the product) in the UK. I tried to do it two years ago but failed because I didn’t have the support with bringing all the factories together. A lot of the companies were unresponsive because I was so small scale.”

The problems experienced by MedTech businesses mean the UK economy could be missing out on billions of pounds in revenue, but more importantly, our patients are missing out too. 

Another key issue highlighted in the reports is that governments overseas provide companies looking to manufacture there with all the information they need to make sure their innovation becomes a reality. They will put companies in touch with the people they need to give them a finished ‘product in a box’.

The UK is faced with a growing list of health crises and waiting lists above seven million people, MedTech has a major role to play in tackling those issues, and if it is to do so, we must act now. 

Technology benefits

Wherever you look in healthcare, new technologies will have a role to play 

Health technologies can empower patients to take control of their own health. MedTech can provide new and less invasive ways to diagnose people with serious conditions, and it can bring the right treatment to people faster and more effectively

We must also not forget that MedTech can also provide the blueprint for a greener and more sustainable healthcare system.

What is clear from these reports is that there are many challenges ahead for MedTech, but there are significant opportunities and much to gain from bringing our bright ideas to life.

We can and should look towards MedTech because it can provide the building blocks for the future of healthcare not just in the UK, but around the world.  

Rahul Kapoor

About Rahul Kapoor

Rahul Kapoor is Director of MedTech at CPI. Rahul’s experience has seen him hold senior positions at Johnson & Johnson, Janssen, Unilever, and digital health SME, Medic Spot Ltd. Rahul is an alumnus of the London Business School and the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.

CPI is a pioneering social enterprise that accelerates the development, scale-up and commercialisation of deep tech and sustainable manufacturing solutions. Through its innovation experts and infrastructure, it is aiming to transform healthcare and drive towards a sustainable future.

www.uk-cpi.com

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Pathology Horizons 2024

MacDonald Bath Spa Hotel, Bath
18-20 April, 2024

Diagnostics North East Conference 2024

The Catalyst, Newcastle upon Tyne
19 April, 2024

ECCMID 2024 - European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

Fira Gran Via, 08038 Barcelona, Spain
27-30 April 2024

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UK Health Security Agency, Colindale, London
2 May 2024

EQA Reports: Interpreting Key Information & Troubleshooting Tips

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Thursday 16th May 2024

Participants’ Meeting: UK NEQAS Immunology, Immunochemistry & Allergy

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24th May 2024

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