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Tom Shelley reports on the benefits to be gained by visiting this years MDT 06 exhibition

Tom Shelley reports on the benefits to be gained by visiting this years MDT 06 exhibiion The focus of this year's medical device technology show and seminars is on getting into and progressing in the one big market which is not only growing, but where innovation and best performance are usually more important than cost cutting. In a study conducted by the organisers of MDT06, 46 per cent of the UK's leading medical device manufacturers report that they are using innovation rather than price to take on their competitors and only 9 per cent see themselves as low cost producers. However, 44 per cent of manufacturers say a lack of dialogue between healthcare professionals and the industry is stifling innovation. Unnecessary regulations are found to be inhibiting the research and development of one in five manufacturers while 27 per cent say that problems in protecting intellectual property prevent them from developing more, and less than half feel their developments are adequately protected. Suppliers also are seen as a problem in that barely half of manufacturers feel their suppliers are keeping place with their development agenda. Some suppliers, materials and testing/configuration, are seen as being better than others but all could do more. More than a few innovative suppliers can be found at this year's show and many of the other issues are addressed by the seminars. Presentations such as, "The European medical device market and home care and non hospital opportunities" on February 15th by Claire Stainforth of Frost and Sullivan at 12.20 and "The ups and downs of trying to get an innovative produt into the National Health Service" by John Warrington, director NHS purchasing and supply agency at 13.10 should be of benefit to many. Another issue, often neglected, is addressed by "Check out what you pack and product says about your company," by Diane Fox-Hill of PDD at 14.00. Important issues addressed on February 16th include "Making money out of new medical technologies" by Ewan Phillips, managing director of Deltex Medical at 12.30 and "Opportunities and challenges when manufacturing in China" by Roland Chichoiek of Solectron, whose company has four plants in that country, at 13.10. More information from www.mdtevents.com medical device technology BOX Meet and discuss your needs with others who can help Following the success of the facilitated discussions at the MDT Innovation Forum on July 6th 2005, Tom Shelley, Group Technical Editor of Eureka and Vanessa Knivett, Associate Editor of New Electronics intend to lead discussions on Prosthetics, Materials and Implanted Electronics at the MDT Collaboration Forum, to be run alongside the other events. The theme this time is to be, "Problems meet solutions." During the course of the discussion on prosthetics at the last event, Dr Saeed Harry Stevens, Chairman of Unimatic, asked if there was a case for forming a, "Professional Association." This was on a table whose subject of discussion, suggested by Dr Shelley was, "Prosthetics often seem to lag behind what is technically possible, especially those that are implanted, and research work in this area is hopelessly under funded." Saeed Zahedi OBE, now in charge of Product Development at Blatchford, called for more multi disciplinary research and proposed the concept of an "Alliance". One of his goals is to bring the level of technology provided to replace the limbs of US soldiers perhaps costing $100,000 to help the million or so land mine victims in the world, budget cost $100. Following the event, Dr Shelley visited Blatchford to learn how the company intended to achieve its goal. While much the results of the discussions have had to remain confidential, some indication of the company's innovative approaches may be learned from the article, "Advanced prosthetics go for gold", published in the September edition of Eureka and available on in the Reference Library section of the Eureka magazine web site at www.eurekamagazine.co.uk. More information at www.mdtcollaborationforum.com MDT Collaboration Forum