In a first-of-its-kind event, a delegation of chief executives from some of the top American medical technology companies recently completed a successful series of meetings in Beijing with key Chinese government officials to strengthen the U.S. industryâ€™s presence there.
The trip, coordinated by the Washington-DC-based Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), focused on the industryâ€™s commitment to providing patients in China with access to the innovative medical technologies and diagnostics developed by U.S. based companies in support of Chinaâ€™s reform of its healthcare system.
â€śAdvaMed member companies are exporting more products to China than ever,â€ť says AdvaMed Chairman James V. Mazzo, president, Abbott Medical Optics. â€śIn 2009 alone, U.S. medical technology exports to China totaled $1.3 billion â€“ a 21% increase over the previous year despite the global economic downturn.â€ť
â€śMazzo continues: â€śWe want to build on the strong and positive commercial relationship that exists between our industry and China and look forward to working with the Chinese government and local medical technology companies to ensure regulatory and trade policies provide patients in China with access to the life-enhancing and life-saving innovations developed by Americaâ€™s medical device and diagnostics companies.â€ť
â€śAdvaMedâ€™s member companies support Chinaâ€™s health care reform goals to provide better care to more citizens in China,â€ť says Stephen J. Ubl, president and CEO of AdvaMed. â€śWe believe China and the U.S. can learn from each other as we both reform our health care systems. It is important to ensure Chinaâ€™s health reform efforts are executed in a way that protects and promotes innovation and expands patientsâ€™ access to healthcare.â€ť
While in China, the medical technology delegation met with Vice Premier Wang Qishan; Yang Jiechi, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Gao Hucheng, Vice Minister of Commerce and New Trade Representative; Shao Mingli, Commissioner State Food and Drug Administration and Vice Minister of Health; Li Zhaoxing, Chairman of the National People's Congress Foreign Affairs Committee; and Jon Huntsman, U.S. Ambassador to China.
Making the trip with AdvaMedâ€™s Mazzo and Ubl were:
- Kevin J. Buehler, president and CEO of Alcon, Inc, Fort Worth, TX
- Joseph DeVivo, president of orthopedic reconstruction, Smith & Nephew
- David B. Perez, president and CEO of Caridian BCT, Lakeland, CO
- Julie A. Shimer, president and CEO of Welch Allyn, Skaneateles Falls, NY
- Huimin Wang, corporate vice president, Japan, Asia Pacific & Latin America, Edwards Lifesciences, Ltd, Irvine, CA
- Dow R. Wilson, president, Varian Oncology Systems, Palo Alto, CA
The visit also resulted in the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Chinese Association of Medical Devices Industry (CAMDI) to work with AdvaMed to harmonize ethical standards for Chinaâ€™s medical technology industry.
â€śWhile AdvaMedâ€™s Code of Ethics has been in place for many years, health care and medical technology innovation increasingly extends beyond national and cultural borders,â€ť says Ubl. â€śThe signing of this memorandum of understanding by AdvaMed and CAMDI is a significant step forward in our industryâ€™s mission to establish consistent ethical standards across international borders.â€ť
While in Beijing, AdvaMed also announced an agreement with respect to a donation and establishment of a formal cooperation between AdvaMed and the China Youth Development Foundation (CYDF), a national non-profit that has recently launched a new initiative to build hospitals in rural parts of the China. AdvaMed and its member companies will support this initiative through funding, in-kind donations and training for rural medical professionals.
â€śAdvaMed has raised two million Chinese yuan from our members to be used for the construction of rural health care facilities in China,â€ť says Mazzo. â€śWe are honored to be able to cooperate on this initiative with such a well-respected Chinese social organization and help to provide health care to more Chinese citizens.â€ť