The trend toward minimally invasive treatments is nothing new in medtech. This shift has been ongoing for a long time, and it makes perfect sense: what patient wouldn?t prefer to have a procedure involving only a few small incisions instead of being cut right open?

In our reports, we talk a lot about how this shift is resulting in the adoption of device A over device B. For example, devices used in percutaneous coronary interventions (PCIs) are more popular compared to devices used in traditional open coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) procedures. However, it's also important to note that the development of these minimally invasive products are helping the medical device industry as a whole. In orthopedics, for example, the availability of better minimally invasive procedures is causing patients to be more willing to undergo a surgery for their joint or back pain instead of staying on lifelong painkillers. In the heart valve world, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is opening a whole new world for patients who would not have been candidates for open-heart surgery. The implication for medtech is clear then: keep making devices that can do the same thing, but with smaller incisions and less trauma to the patient.

Interestingly, something that we don?t often consider in the medtech world is how these sorts of developments can impact our sister industry: pharmaceuticals. Ultimately, new and better device treatments can negatively impact demand for certain drugs by making patients more willing or able to undergo device treatments. However, the reverse is also true: in some industries, new and better drugs will make patients be more willing or able to stay on drug treatment rather than having a surgery done. Similarly, apps that help with things like patient compliance could make drugs a more realistic option for a large chunk of the population.

In general, pharma is winning that tug of war. It's safe to say that in most cases, physicians will get patients to try pharmaceutical options before a device comes into play. This also contributes to the medtech industry being in general just far smaller than pharma. But innovations in this space can help medtech pull just a bit more of that rope over to their side of the line.

With more medtech companies involved in an entire continuum of care for a disease, will we see them therefore get involved in the pharmaceutical industry as well to better manage these dynamics? That would be a truly unique partnership that we have yet to see.

Interested in learning more?  View our Spectrum Report on Key Considerations for Impending Drug/Device Competition.

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