Next government must invest in innovation and ensure patient access to medtech

January 24, 2020

The Irish Medtech Association, the Ibec group that represents the medtech sector, today launched its “Priorities for the next Government: Invest in Innovation, Investing in People”. Ireland is one of the top five global medtech hubs with 9 of the world’s top 10 medtech companies having a base here. With the right policies, the Association believes the industry can take a greater share of the global medtech market which is forecast to grow to €530 billion by 2024. The Irish Medtech Association’s priorities sets out recommendations under three pillars:

PILLAR 1: Health and patient access
Ensure the effective implementation of the new EU Medical Device Regulations 
Promote regulatory convergence after Brexit and the recognition of CE marks
Make sure any Health Technology Assessment regulations are fit-for-purpose

PILLAR 2: Enterprise and Innovation
Embrace new technologies with advanced manufacturing
Nurture entrepreneurship and support disruptive innovation
Advocate for tax policies that align profits with substance
Establish Ireland as a leader for gender leadership in manufacturing

PILLAR 3: Education and skills
Support lifelong learning for a worldclass knowledge economy
Safeguard the sustainability of the new apprenticeships programmes 

Chair of the Irish Medtech Association and S3 Connected Health CEO John O'Brien said, “Manufacturing is a vital part of the Irish economy, with major clusters in Galway, Limerick, Cork, Waterford, Sligo and Dublin, but as we plan for the future there is a serious gap in the Irish innovation ecosystem which the next Government must address. We are calling on the next Government to invest ambitiously in an advanced discrete manufacturing centre of scale by adding €30 million to the IDA-led centre, with a well-coordinated governance structure that includes industry, to help companies take new technologies from proof of concept to commercialisation. For Irish manufacturers to compete they need to embrace new technologies such as AI, data analytics and 3D printing, as well as provide access for professionals to these technologies to ensure that they are equipped to embrace industry 4.0. To help Irish people prepare for the jobs of the future, the next Government must foster lifelong learning by continuing to support the Irish Medtech Skillnet and ensuring the sustainability of the new manufacturing apprenticeships.”

Ireland is one of the top locations for medtech FDI investment in Europe and has per capita the greatest employer of medtech professionals in Europe, but O’Brien warned that changes in EU regulations could jeopardise this: “A high bar is set for manufacturers to demonstrate safety, efficacy and clinical benefit for medtech products to get to market. This is strengthened under the EU Medical Devices Regulation, but over the past two and half years while industry has been preparing for the biggest regulatory change in over two decades policymakers have failed to ensure that the regulatory system is ready for tens of thousands of life transforming technologies to transition under the 26 May deadline.

"The EU has historically been a location of choice for the launch of innovative medical technologies with Ireland being chosen by many FDI multinationals as a gateway to it the EU’s €115 billion market. Now a lack of predictability under the EU Regulations and increasingly favourable regulatory regimes in other markets such as the United States is undermining this position. The Irish Medtech Association is calling on the next Government to work with the EU to conduct a ‘readiness check’ to identify and prioritise the main implementation challenges. Additionally, policymakers must work with the EU to maintain access to life transforming medical devices certified in the UK and avoid regulatory divergence after Brexit.”


Irish Medtech Priorities for the Next Government 2020 pdf | 900.4 kb