The role of medical devices in the national heath strategy
Type of text :
Type of referral :
Working group :
Section for Social Affairs and Health
Date adopted : 01/27/2015
Medical devices cover a very wide field, ranging from common items such as dressings, to medical imaging, implantable devices and revolutionary technologies such as "artificial hearts". With the proliferation of networked devices, medical robotics and in vitro devices, the field of medical devices is growing in new ways.
Our healthcare system faces a number of challenges, such as universal access to treatment, health security and the provision of walk-in screening for age-related conditions and chronic diseases.
Medical devices can be part of the response, although their rapid development raises certain concerns. In fact, it has brought about the emergence of new products that do not replace or improve upon existing devices, and increased expenditure and considerable excess costs for certain patients.
There is therefore a need to reconcile the development of medical devices with a health benefit that are universally accessible for all with a health policy that both rewards research and innovation and keeps down costs for patients that cannot be met by public health insurance and top-up health insurance policies.
Medical devices provide a unique standpoint from which to consider the appropriateness of prescription and use, the training of healthcare professionals and the role of patients, and the tension between the dissemination of innovation, the financing of expenditure and the imperative of access to treatment. In this regard, the ESEC would like to see medical devices accorded the role they deserve in the national health strategy and in the Healthcare Bill.
This opinion is consistent with other work by the ESEC highlighting the need to increase the role of prevention in a primarily treatment-based healthcare system, to encourage a cross-cutting approach and coordination between healthcare professionals and to involve patients as actors in their own health. Medical devices have a full role to play in this process.
Without seeking to downplay the contribution of tried and tested devices that are already widely used, the ESEC has chosen to highlight those that are most innovative and that raise major questions in terms of development, ethics, financing, training of healthcare professionals and provision of information for patients. The Opinion explores the link between healthcare policy and the need to structure an industrial sector that is a creator of skilled employment. In an expanding global market, France has a negative trade balance, even though it possesses highly qualified scientists, creative start-ups, a high-quality healthcare infrastructure, and expert healthcare professionals.