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Medical Device Industry Vial for Patients, Economy

By Héctor Orellana - Medtronic
VP North Latam


Héctor Orellana By Héctor Orellana | VP North Latam - Thu, 03/02/2023 - 15:00

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As we gradually recover from the enormous crisis generated by COVID-19, we begin to see  new horizons and opportunities, which should be informed by the lessons learned in the last two years. 

In particular, I have observed a clear evolution of the medical devices and technology  industry in Mexico, most notably in terms of domestic consumption and manufacturing. 

In the more than 20 years that I have been in this industry, I have been fortunate to work in  various Latin American geographies; work that kept me away from Mexico. Upon my return  to the country in 2020, I witnessed the political and social change experienced across  different sectors, and in particular, the healthcare sector. 

My return was motivated to a great extent by the conviction that I could bring to Mexico  some of what I had learned over this time out of the country; however, I was not fully aware  of the magnitude of what was happening on a day-to-day basis, and much less so, of the  changes that had occurred to the supply models for public and private institutions. 

The health system in Mexico has substantially transformed. This transformation is not only  due to the pandemic, but also to intense research into new coverage schemes and models that are designed to take advantage of every peso that is invested in the health of the  population. This new reality demands flexibility and speed to adapt as an industry. 

I am aware of the role we have as an ally of the health system and the positive impact that we  can generate among the thousands of patients who need medical attention. I live this  commitment every day due to the responsibility I have of directing in Mexico and Central  America a transnational company: Medtronic, a global leader in medical technology. I know  that it is a privilege, but I also know that it implies an enormous commitment due to the role that we have as a market leader.

From this position, I have had the opportunity to observe the particularities of the public  system, and the way in which decisions are being made. I have also seen the significant  growth of the private sector, which each day becomes more consolidated and prepared to be a  relevant player in the health of Mexicans.  

The medical devices and technology industry is strategic for the well-being of the  population around the world. Its role within the health ecosystem in Mexico is critical to face  the great health challenges that we face today: heart disease as the leading cause of death; diabetes and obesity as triggers for chronic diseases; delays in surgeries; an increase in  patients with kidney failure, just to name a few. 

Those of us who are part of the health system in Mexico will have a year focused on the  continuous development of new care models. Personally, I also begin 2023 with the  opportunity to be president of the Mexican Association of Innovative Industries of Medical  Devices (AMID). 

As I mentioned before, I have 20 years of experience in this sector. During this time, I was  able to see the birth of AMID and today, with great satisfaction, it is my turn to continue the  work of the great leaders who have preceded me. I thank them for laying the foundations  that we have in Mexico today; foundations that gave rise to one of the most complex supply  chains in our economy, but also one that shows the greatest potential for growth in the  coming years. 

Historically, AMID has been a key spokesperson in the relationship with COFEPRIS in the  management of sanitary registrations and their renewal. Today, after more than 15 years of  AMID, regulatory issues continue to be one of the main challenges with which I begin my  mandate at the helm of AMID. I am sure that we will be able to join efforts in partnering with  the authorities to achieve significant progress toward effective solutions to the regulatory  issues that are so fundamental for this industry. 

While patient care is the central element of the medical devices and technology industry,  the relevance it has in our country's economy is just as important. According to various  sources, the market value is estimated to be between US$17 billion and US$22 billion annually,  which places us in seventh place worldwide as exporters of medical technology and generates more than 145,000 direct jobs.

Conversely, domestic consumption is estimated to have a market value in our country of  around US$5.5 billion. This places us in 38th or 40th place in the use of medical devices and technology worldwide. This contrast between production and consumption indicates a  delay in the use of products that are manufactured in our country. 

As such, the medical device industry is at the heart of two tremendous opportunities:  

1) Consolidate as a strategic economic sector for the country; the medical device  industry has a highly qualified labor force and a strategic position in the current  global health climate. 

2) Increase patient access to innovation. Patient health must remain at the center of the  equation. By taking advantage of the best of technology, quality of life can be improved efficiently. Additionally, this would increase opportunities to approach and learn from the most advanced health systems in the world. 

With all of this in mind, as an industry we need to be able to provide increasingly better  information, using clear data, on what we represent, and it needs to be consistently  provided to all stakeholders with whom we interact. We must have the capacity and  information platforms to provide data that allows the different healthcare systems to make evidence-based decisions. We must responsibly obey all regulations and continue to demonstrate our compliance with best international practices. 

In conclusion, as a strategic sector for the country, we must have the capacity to build a  proactive agenda that gives visibility to the benefits we provide to patients and shows the economic and social impact that we can generate.

Photo by:   Héctor Orellana

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