Taking Products Global is Easier Said Than Done

By now, most device companies probably know this. What they also should know is that delivering products internationally takes careful preparation and research from the start. Take Covidien, for example. After its first year as an independent company, it reported nearly $9 billion in revenue for 2007. What's the company's strategy?

September 25, 2008

2 Min Read
Taking Products Global is Easier Said Than Done

Joe Almeida, president of Covidien's medical device business, told MD&DI some of the company's key tactics for global product development: understanding the marketplace in which it's embarking, listening to the voice of the customer, and looking at how to innovate with the most compelling outcome. "It's not just about being the first to market, but being the right to market," Almeida told us as AdvaMed 2008. It's also not about how many products a company launches in a year, but how they fit into the space.Almeida also spoke on a panel about risk, innovation, and globalization during the event. He has a strong opinion about bringing customer input into the equation. It's important to reach out from every single location point, or you run the risk of failing to identify the global need. Having feet on the ground (literally) in locations of interest will help companies understand local issues, and be strategic about where you place employees within those countries, advised Johnson & Johnson's Richard Toselli, MD, another panel speaker. Toselli is the vice president of evidence-based medicine at J&J's Office of Science and Technology.While Almeida says companies should strive to reach countries outside of their comfort zone, they must clearly understand the regulations. From there, the risks that manufacturers take will be based on how well they know the market.Access and affordability are other key issues for product launches in emerging markets. Stakeholder economics are much different outside of the U.S., said Toselli. In some countries, it's harder for workers to take a lot of time off to recover from surgery, which means a need for more minimally invasive products. But it's not just as simple as providing this solution. Companies need to look at the reimbursement situation surrounding those products and advanced planning is an essential part of this process. Since this differs depending on the region, understanding evidence requirements before trying to introduce devices in crucial. In the end, it's all about outcomes that a product has on the patient, the physician, and the provider, according to Almeida. So when it comes to evidence-based medicine--"If you don't have it, you're not playing in this game anymore," he said.

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