By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Healthcare and medical technology industries from 15 European Union (EU) member states have expressed interest in bringing innovative technologies into the country.
Trade Undersecretary for Industry Development and Board of Investments Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo said of the EU Healthcare and Medical Technologies business mission, which visited the country from September 3-5.
Rodolfo said the mission complements the effort of the local health services industry to develop and promote the country as a medical travel, wellness tourism, and as a retirement destination in Asia.
“The government supports the manufacturing medical devices and supplies as the country presents great opportunities in the field with the presence of over 2,000 government and private hospitals and over 23,000 health units and stations all over the country,” he said.
The mission, under the EU Business Avenues in South East Asia program, focused on Healthcare and Medical Technologies and will showcase solutions such as Medical Waste Management, Laboratory Equipment, Aesthetic/Cosmetic Equipment, Dental Products and Supplies, Pharmaceutical Supplies and Disposables, IT Solutions, Telemedicine and Remote Health Monitoring, Assistive Technologies, Pain/Rehabilitation Equipment, Imaging and Non-imaging Diagnostic and other technologies.
The program aimed to help EU companies to understand the Philippines healthcare and medical technologies market and provide them a platform to establish partnerships with Filipinos through coaching, business matching and business support services.
Data from the Med Tech Europe website showed that the EU serves as one of the largest sources of medical device products in the world with almost 25,000 companies manufacturing and distributing medical devices for various uses, including in-vitro diagnostics, cardiology, orthopedics, diagnostic imaging, ophthalmic, surgery, endoscopy and wound management, among others.
According to the website, the South East Asia (SEA) region can benefit from these technologies and developments as the region faces similar medical challenges due to its greying population. In the Philippines, it is expected that percentage of elderly above 65 years old will grow to 4.9 percent by 2020 and 6.3 percent by 2030.
EU Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen cited the exciting developments of the Philippines healthcare sector.
Jessen noted of the government’s focus on improving the delivery of public healthcare to its citizens, evident in the increase in the health budget, the remarkable membership coverage under the National Health Insurance Program (PhilHealth) and the progress in key legislations for social services including health.
“The EU remains committed in supporting the Philippines in its healthcare agenda through various programs, trade and investment,” the ambassador said.
In 2017, total trade in healthcare, medical technologies and other related goods reached more than €1.1 billion which could easily grow more, benefitting both markets.
The ambassador added that local counterparts can take this opportunity to learn more about the innovative technologies from Europe and discuss possibilities for collaboration.