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Opportunities for UK businesses on the international stage

3rd Sep 2020 6 min read

International markets can play a significant role in helping UK life sciences businesses emerge from the pandemic.


In this bulletin we’ll look at some of the current global opportunities for British firms.

A European partnership for health innovation has been welcomed by pharmaceutical and medical technology companies including COCIR (the European Coordination Committee of the Radiological, Electromedical and Healthcare IT Industry), EFPIA (European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations), EuropaBio (Europe's largest and most influential biotech industry group), MedTech Europe (the European trade association representing the medical technology industries, from diagnosis to cure) and Vaccines Europe (a specialised vaccines group within EFPIA). With the UK playing a leading role in the fight against the pandemic, British companies and institutions will be attracted to this initiative. More information can be found here

China has drafted new regulations for clinical trials of class III medical devices: designed to provide legal safeguards for doctors and patients and improve safety, they’re part of a broad reworking of industry standards launched in the country over the past two years. More information about these developments in what is an extremely important and fast-growing market for UK health sector companies can be found here

In Japan, health authorities are considering postponing cuts to prices for pharmaceuticals offered by the country’s nationalised health insurance system, that were due to come into effect in April 2021. The scheduled price cuts are designed to address large gaps between prices for products offered by Japan’s National Health Insurance system and the open market, but Japanese authorities are concerned about the potential impact of this change on healthcare businesses which have already been hit by coronavirus. More information can be found here

In November, South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety is introducing a new tracking system for implantable medical devices. This will track devices, starting from when they’re released from factories to the point when they’re surgically implanted, with the aim of enabling effective monitoring and retrieval of defective devices as well as those with harmful side effects.

Sky Medical Technology, a UK-based biomedical devices company, has produced a guide to the process of applying for clearance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States, including suggestions for best practice.

FDA approval allows Sky to market its products in the US for its nine specific indications, and has also enabled the business to raise further capital. More information is here


Life Science Week coming up

From 19 October, we’re running Life Science Week in collaboration with our partners Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI), British Centres for Business, Intralink and Department for International Trade China. This will comprise of a series of digital events with a focus on current developments and commercial opportunities in the sector across China, Japan, South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Participants will receive a UK sector overview followed by daily snapshots of trends in each market. There will be an interactive Q&A session with representatives from each market, followed by the opportunity for pre-booked one-to-one appointments with market-entry experts.

If you’re a UK business operating in medical devices and equipment, health technology or providing digital health services, and you’re interested in learning more about the opportunities for your business in the Middle East and east Asia, please get in touch with us.


Manufacturing sector news

At the start of the month, the CIPS/IHS Markit UK Manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index for July was confirmed at 53.3 – an improvement on June’s 50.1, and a sign that the sector is returning to growth. At the same time, businesses positivity has now reached its highest level in more than two years.

Manufacturing businesses should be aware that, according to new government guidance, furloughed employees who are subsequently dismissed are entitled to statutory redundancy and notice pay based on their normal wages rather than the reduced rate via the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS).

Details of HM Revenue & Customs’ ability to penalise businesses that make excessive JRS claims have also been published, while the CBI has issued a very useful JRS factsheet for employers.

Manufacturers are pushing for more information from the Government on the new UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) standards regime, which is set to replace the European Union’s CE label following Brexit. It’s unclear whether the CE mark will continue to be recognised for a period in 2021 in the event of a no-deal departure – and businesses urgently need to know exactly how stringent the UKCA scheme will be.

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