Kota Yamamura
View from the Top

Medical Technology Collaboration Across the Pacific

Wed, 09/07/2016 - 12:44

Q: How has the medical devices market evolved since Terumo’s foundation in Mexico?

A: We have a more than 20-year history in Mexico, since we established a regional office in 1992. Initially we focused on syringes, needles and disposable products but over the last 10 years the axis of the company has changed and now we have another pillar, the cardiology field. Our main priority has been to provide a high-quality portfolio of products so we can improve the patients quality of life. At the same time, our products are easy to use by doctors and medical staff, which has influenced both in society and in how medical procedures are carried out in the country.

Terumo has a presence in more than 160 countries. We support our customers with global clinical evidence that backs up the quality of our products and their use in different medical fields to obtain the desired clinical outcomes. We are also providing international training in different areas that concern the users of our devices. Together, the international experience and our training programs provide the doctors and medical staff with the strongest support. This is the best way to capitalize on good practices that Terumo has acquired over the years.

Q: What would be the main difficulties faced in terms of Mexico’s medical devices industry and how do you overcome these?

A: Mexico and Japan have a similar population around 125 million people, but the number of medical cases is not the same as Japan. It means Mexico has a strong potential to increase the access to medical treatments from different specialties. Added to this, the country´s economic growth will certainly lead to a greater demand for healthcare services. Thinking on this we have already performed several trainings for doctors in the Interventional Cardiology field to offer a different treatment approach that allows reducing the time a patient needs to stay in the hospital. By reducing hospitalization time, expenses are directly reduced too. Both the Japanese and Mexican governments have supported these training programs and as dictated by our mission, we are not just providing high-quality products but we are contributing to society.

Q: How do you collaborate with the government to contribute to the growth of this sector?

A: As mentioned before, we have training programs, most of them on the cardiology field and supported by the government. We have sent doctors to receive specialized cardiovascular training in Japan. In the same way, these Mexican doctors share their experiences with their Japanese colleagues, enriching the experience for both parties. Sophisticated techniques are covered during the trainings and a few months later the Japanese doctor that trained them comes to Mexico to evaluate the effectiveness of the training and to get to know Mexican medical practices. These trainings have been performed for five years and still there is a lot of room for growth, for example with trainings for nurses and engineers.

Q: Some executives in the medical devices industry have expressed that COFEPRIS could further reduce approval times. What are your thoughts on this?

A: COFEPRIS has improved in recent years. As a member of the Japanese Chamber, I am in charge of supporting Japanese companies in sorting out regulatory issues with COFEPRIS and I can say the Commission is open to collaborate and provide positive answers. For example, in 2012 Japan and Mexico signed a fast track agreement for medical devices, which has allowed acceleration of the approval of Japanese medical devices, including our devices.

Q: What are your main objectives for this year?

A: Innovation is not moving at the same pace today as 10 years ago, when many new products and technologies were developed. Nowadays we are focusing on developing new easy-to-use and safe products with an added value. Training is also extremely important for us and we see it as a contribution to improve the healthcare sector in Mexico. Collaborating more closely with doctors is also at the core of our strategy, as their opinions are a valuable source of input for the improvement of our products.