New ABHI Texas Mission Spells Opportunity for UK MedTech

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21/12/2016

Following a successful “Mission” in October , UK industry body the Association of British Healthcare Industries(ABHI), now plans a re-run in early March 2017. The ABHI is inviting applications from interested MedTech companies.

Standard bearer for UK’s MedTech sector, the ABHI recently spent a week (Oct 15-21) supporting a group of representatives from UK innovator companies as they showcased their offerings in the Lone Star state. Although with a population of 27 million, Texas really is more like a country than a state. Boasting one of the most impressive arrays of healthcare providers in the U.S., Texas is also home to many of the country’s biggest name device companies, not least because of its favourable state corporation tax rates and generally low operating cost base.

Then there’s the reputation for excellence in healthcare. The names of Texan institutions will resonate with anyone in MedTech, from the world-renowned MD Anderson Cancer centres to the Houston Methodist group, the list of names also looks like it could represent an entire country. So why, with a compelling combination of MedTech and existing institutional excellence, would ABHI choose Texas at which to target its missionary work on behalf of UK MedTech? Well, according to the organisation’s Chairman, Philip Kennedy, it’s a carefully planned strategy that taps into the need for UK companies to be able to sell their innovative technologies in the US, without having to “eat the elephant” all in one mouthful. Philip states; “The notion is that by targeting a single state, and making sure it’s a big one, we’ll be helping companies to get out of the blocks when it comes to the daunting task of commencing commercial activity stateside.”

The programme works on two other levels as well: Firstly, while the US still spends 18% of its GDP on healthcare, the UK spends less than half that amount, yet delivers arguably better outcomes. U.S. healthcare providers are clearly keen to understand the secret, no doubt expecting to benefit from the UK’s pragmatic approach to technology adoption.

When it comes to its missionary activity, October’s showcase-cum-networking opportunity is one component in a rolling programme of activities for ABHI, which may well culminate in the organisation placing a dedicated “accelerator” in the form of feet on the ground in Texas.

So, post-Brexit, and pre-Trump, is this an initiative that forms part of a government-supported push to develop a strong export base to countries other than those within the European Union? Well, while it might look like that’s the case, ABHI has had this in the works for some time, the programme having been the brainchild of International Director Paul Benton, in conjunction with Chief Executive Peter Ellingworth long before the UK Brexit referendum result was even thought to be a possibility. That said, there’s little doubt that the UK government is likely to be fully supportive of ABHI’s drive to support UK MedTech in its endeavours to put some of the country’s finest technologies in the U.S. shop window.

ABHI International Director, Paul Benton, said: “The ABHI mission is part of a rolling series of ABHI led visits to Texas. It builds on the highly successful visits in 2016, which saw companies benefit from introductions and engagement with hospital and clinical leaders including the US military as well as GPO’s, distributors and professional business support organisations.


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