This is why the IVAM Microtechnology Network (German: Fachverband für Mikrotechnik) focuses on linking markets and providing market access outside of Europe. Dr. Thomas R. Dietrich, CEO of the IVAM Microtechnology Network, talks about the challenges that need to be mastered in this area and what potential China and Brazil offer German SMEs.
Dr. Dietrich, what trends and topics centering on miniaturization are affecting the medical technology sector?
Dr. Thomas R. Dietrich: The aging society and the individualization of diagnostics and treatment are the big trends in medicine that now need to be implemented into technology. This makes sensors that measure vital signs just as necessary as active drug dosing systems. All of these components should be wearable and workable at home using a mobile "theranostic" device. This requires the development of respective microtech solutions that are operable by patients, are maintenance-free and facilitate the accurate evaluation of a patient’s health status. It should enable automatic therapeutic measures that are especially suited to the well-being of the patient, are designed to function optimally and simultaneously help to avoid unnecessary expenses. This is complemented by minimally-invasive surgical procedures that can only work with microtech grippers, tools, cameras etc.
Dietrich: Historically, the domestic market is the largest one for German medical device manufacturers: Germany and Europe. However, European countries are not the only ones confronted with the demographic change. Other industrialized countries are also an important market for the German industry. Emerging markets like China and Brazil are even more interesting. Here, the governments have already recognized a big need to catch up in their respective health care systems which they now want to directly balance with high-tech medicine. These countries are investing in their own medical technology industry. They have also recognized that demand can currently only be met through imports from industrialized countries, and support it by reducing import tariffs for example and promoting collaboration between domestic and foreign companies. Despite the currently slowed growth in countries like China and Brazil, it makes sense for German companies to establish contacts there now and to invest.