As Valentine’s Day approaches, love is in the air. But the heavy snows earlier this month seemed a reminder of the harsh economic climate. This issue of On Target is dedicated to the risk-takers, the visionaries and the pioneers of the healthcare industry: the ones who take a well-informed chance and commit themselves.
This month’s news section quotes Lord Drayson, the Minister for Science and Innovation, on why the UK is poised to benefit from targeted investment in modern healthcare. The NHS patient base and the UK’s wealth of medical expertise, he argues, “offer a unique opportunity to develop a real strength in the life sciences, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, to promote a world leadership position.” The potential is there – do we have the nerve?
In ‘Two become one’, Brad Abbey takes a cautious look at the opportunities and pitfalls of mergers, partnerships and takeovers within the medtech industry. Some of these couplings are fruitful and mutually advantageous, he argues, but others are undermined by a lack of trust or an imbalance of power. As the old saying goes, there is always one who kisses and one who offers the cheek. If you are the one being ‘merged’, it’s wise to keep your own counsel and listen carefully for those three crucial words: the bottom line .
Alan Connington’s article looks at another kind of risk-taking enterprise in the medtech sector: diversifi cation, where a company ventures into the unknown by launching new products into new markets. He explains how sound market analysis and strategic preparation enable innovative businesses to hit the ground running, while those prompted only by the hope that “the grass is greener on the other side” may find themselves stranded in a deep and barren snowdrift.
There was no snow at Arab Health 2008 in Dubai last month, where more than 120 British medtech companies showcased their products and engaged with buyers from one of the world’s fastest-growing healthcare markets. With the support and guidance of UK Trade & Investment, the ABHI and other organisations, many SMEs are taking the first nervous steps into the commercial dating game that leads to export market penetration and enduring overseas trade commitment.
Finally, our articles on selling strategies and effective use of PR both emphasise that the cold economic climate favours those who really mean it. True love will always win out over half-hearted flirtation. As the economy continues to break hearts and contracts, the best way to survive is to be brave, committed, venturesome… and tough. The best roses have thorns as well as petals.