In early February 2023, the UK government released its first ever Medical Technology Strategy, which aims to ensure reliable and cost effective access to innovative medical technology in the UK health and social care system, whilst also supporting the UK's MedTech sector.
According to the Strategy report, the sector has an annual turnover of £27.6 billion, whilst the NHS alone is estimated to spend more than £10 billion annually on MedTech, and so it makes sense that the two should be considered side by side, with a focus on how both can maximise the potential benefits.
The UK isn't the sole focus of the Strategy however, and it's perhaps no surprise given the predicted growth of the MedTech market globally from roughly $495 billion in 2022 to nearly $719 billion by 2029 (according to Fortune Business Insights). The intention of the Strategy is to position the UK's MedTech sector both domestically and globally to get technology to the patients and healthcare professionals who need them.
Of course, for any MedTech company working on developing new technologies, or improving existing ones, IP should be at the forefront of any design and decision-making process. According to the report, 1 in 12 of all UK applications to the European Patent Office in 2021 sought protection for medical technologies, and this is expected to grow over time.
Additionally, with the NHS increasingly being able to offer patients a choice as to what technology they use, a distinctive brand is key in enabling the patient to identify exactly what they are asking for. Statistics published by the UKIPO show that the number of trade mark applications filed in class 10 in 2007 and 2012 was almost identical, whilst by 2017 the number had more than doubled. More recent figures do not appear to be available, but this suggests a clear upward trend in filings covering MedTech goods over the last decade.
In an age where technology is constantly evolving, the next decade will be an exciting ride for the MedTech sector, and with government recognition of the UK's potential growth in this market, the possibilities should be endless.