It had been a few years since we'd updated our European ENT device coverage and I was keen to figure out what was new, interesting, and changing. In the end, I think the coolest pieces of info mostly had to do with competition and the potential for shifting market shares. For the markets I was covering in the big 5 European countries, KARL STORZ continued to lead in overall revenues. That said, companies like Medtronic have been turning up the volume on their ENT sales by focusing more heavily on faster growing product segments like radiofrequency devices and powered instruments. Olympus plans to jump on these same intonations, stating in its 2014 annual report that it intends to concentrate more heavily on growing its ENT and energy device businesses going forward.
Potentially even more intriguing is the long-term impact that Smith & Nephew's acquisition of ArthroCare could have. While Smith & Nephew has not historically offered products for ENT applications, it does offer powered instruments for other applications like arthroscopy. If these products were adopted for ENT purposes, ArthroCare's ENT sales force would be well positioned to offer both powered instruments and RF devices to ENT physicians. All in all, lots of sound waves are reverberating in different ways around here and it will be interesting keep listening on all of these fronts in the future!