Telemedicine and regulatory changes to characterize medical device industry in 2021

Telemedicine and regulatory changes are two of the stand-out trends that leading data and analytics company GlobalData notes will shape the medical device industry in 2021, alongside 3D printing and point-of-care testing (POCT). As 2020 draws to a close, Aliyah Farouk, Senior Medical Device Analyst, offers her view on these trends.

Telemedicine is here to stay

“COVID-19 has created an additional need for telemedicine as the service minimizes clinic or hospital visits, reducing the risk of transmission while allowing physicians to continue providing care.

“In a GlobalData poll of healthcare users, 83% of respondents believed telehealth has become an established element of healthcare. Moreover, 76% of these respondents expressed usage will continue to climb after the pandemic has subsided. The accessibility and practicality the technology has demonstrated means that it is here to stay.”

3D printing will experience unusual hiring activity

3D printing recruitment in 2020 has notably included companies with previously limited exposure to the technology. GlobalData’s Jobs Tracker database revealed that there was increased hiring activity in the orthopedics and dental spaces, which are sectors that have obvious needs for 3D printing. However, there was also increased interest from in vitro diagnostics (IVD) companies such as Thermo Fisher and Cepheid’s parent Danaher, as well as interest from respiratory devices companies such as Philips Respironics.

Farouk notes: “Tracking jobs is a good proxy for analyzing companies’ short-term strategies. These new entrants may be looking at ways to solidify and expand their 3D printing manufacturing capabilities in 2021.”

Point-of-care tests will make a breakthrough

“COVID-19 has provided the impetus to develop new, low-cost molecular diagnostic platforms suitable for mass testing such as POCT.

“According to GlobalData’s pipeline products database, there are over 140 POCT in the pipeline, with over 25 products in approval processes and many likely to see approval in 2021.

“Companies such as Genedrive are in a great position to introduce large-scale molecular POCT to emerging markets through partnerships.”

Regulatory changes will disrupt the medical device market

The medical device regulatory landscape in the UK will change as a result of Brexit, with the potential to divert from EU standards from as early as Q2 2021.

Farouk continues: “As new medical devices entering the UK market only need to comply with old, less stringent standards, GlobalData expects medical device market leaders to follow EU practice – since they are already heavily invested in the highly regulated market. However, small-medium enterprises (SMEs), particularly from outside of the UK and EU, will likely exploit opportunities to market cheaper medical devices conforming to old standards.

“The UK will be seen as a market that is advantageous for devices not regulated to the European standard. It is well known that device manufacturers not able to place medical devices in the more regulated markets, such as the US or Europe, can gain market share and more acceptance in less regulated markets.”

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