Supply and procurement
The delegates agreed that a move from the traditional medtech volume/price-based procurement and reimbursement to value-based models was necessary. However, this also requires cooperation between role players so that the transition balances medtech sustainability with the needs of the health system and affordability of patient care. Core considerations related to this aspect of the medtech supply chain were the rising import and logistics costs and safeguards to preserve a continuum of care.
Delegates and experts deliberated on the factors that contribute to the quality and effectiveness of health services. Developing robust contingency solutions that are aligned to social and policy requirements will assist in building resilient, sustainable and transparent supply chains under the constrained infrastructural and other resource-related conditions.
Hot topics for 2024: ESG, localisation and international trade
As is the case with other industries, our sector has to evolve to meet expectations of the healthcare system to serve patients as well as the planet and society. Experts shared their views on how medtech should go about meeting its environment/society/governance (ESG) responsibilities. Extended producer responsibility (EPR), circular economy, designing and manufacturing for reduced carbon emissions, along with diversity, equity, and inclusion will be hot topics we have to tackle in the short-term.
It was apparent that we needed a clear strategy that will encourage and nurture local manufacturing – with the promise of success if we can capitalise on trade agreements including those under BRICS, AGOA and AfCFTA. South Africa is a prime hub for trade into the rest of the continent. A well-constructed policy that truly unlocks local manufacture and takes it to the next level would benefit the sustainability of the medtech industry, our patients’ access to health products and South Africa’s economy through employment and exports.
One pertinent area would be bioplastics. Single use devices end up either in the landfill or in incinerators where they emit harmful chemicals when burned. Bioplastics applied in a medtech context can help alleviate this impact.
There was significant interest to match up established multinational and large medtech companies with local manufacturers with capacity or infrastructure to accelerate implementation. Quick wins could secure greater goodwill and interest among government, policy makers and investors interest to secure additional investment necessary for overcoming policy limitations and other barriers to market. Government support could include an increased focus on procuring local content within the public health sector as part of procurement goals.
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