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Data de sfârșit:

septembrie 30, 2015

Is the Russia crisis also a crisis for medical technology?

Interview with Jennifer Goldenstede, head of department Foreign Trade and Export Promotion at SPECTARIS e.V., Association for Medical Technology

Jennifer Goldenstede; ©SPECTARIS e.V.

The Ukrainian political turmoil has been keeping the world in suspense since 2013. It has also caused growing tensions between Russia on the one hand and the U.S. and EU on the other hand. Both sides try to pressure each other with sanctions against individuals, international financial transactions and whole industry branches.

In the interview with MEDICA-tradefair.com, Jennifer Goldenstede talks about exports of medical technology to Russia and explains the trade sanctions’ impact on the industry.

Miss Goldenstede, how important are medical technology imports from the U.S. and the EU for Russia?

Jennifer Goldenstede: In recent years, they had a high significance, but this has changed now. One example is the German exports to Russia. From 2010-2012 there has been a considerable increase of more than 30 percent each year, reaching almost 70 percent in 2012. In 2013 and 2014 those figures decreased with a decline of around 25 to 30 percent each year. In the first half of 2014 the export volume was still at 292 million Euros, in the first half of 2015 the volume was at 226 million Euros. This means a decline of 23 percent.

There currently are economic as well as travel sanctions between the U.S. and the EU on one side and Russia on the other side. What influence do these have on the manufacturers of medical technology?

Goldenstede: The economic sanctions are not the foremost problem for the industry – this would be the import substitutions. The Russian government has decided that those manufacturers of medical technology should be preferred in public government tenders, which really provide added value within the Eurasian Economic Union. There are lists which indicate for which goods and expendable materials the Russian import quota should be lowered more and more. Of course Russian companies are the ones which profit most from this. Foreign companies first have to create added value locally to be able to participate in those tenders.

Thus, these sanctions are only consequently an obstacle for companies that want to export to Russia: If a national procurement is not possible, the Russian authorities first check if they can purchase the products from countries that do not sanction Russia.

Building bridges: Industry associations can work to maintain and to promote international trade relations in difficult times; ©panthermedia.net/ doomu

How can a trade association like SPECTARIS again promote cooperation between these countries?

Goldenstede: We are strongly committed to ensuring that foreign trade fairs such as the ZDRAVOOKHRANENIYE in Moscow can continue to take place. There already were some cancellations out of political reasons in the foreign trade fair program. However, these have not yet affected the medical technology industry.

Other instruments that we can use are for example the market development program of the Federal Ministry of Economics, which includes visits of delegations to the country. We have proposed, inter alia, Russia as a destination country. However, it is still unclear whether this will be implemented.

Lastly, the information transfer to the member companies is very important. They need to know what is happening in Russia, so they can be prepared and make informed decisions about their business there.

© Barbara From- mann

The interview was conducted by Timo Roth and translated from German by Daniel Stöter.



The 3rd Joint EUROPEAN HOSPITAL CONFERENCE (EHC) takes place as part of MEDICA 2015 and the 38th Congress of German Hospitals on 19 November 2015. The EHC will address different political, medical and economic topics from across all of Europe. As a separate event the EHC is directed by the Gesellschaft Deutscher Krankenhaustag (GDK) and will be held in the Congress Center East (CCD East) in Düsseldorf.

High-ranking speakers from the European Hospital and Healthcare Federation (HOPE), the European Association of Hospital Managers (EAHM) and the Association of European Hospital Physicians (AEMH) will take a detailed stance on the following topics:

    • Patient-oriented hospital care in the future


  • Patient-oriented hospital care in the practice

On 19 November 2015, Mrs. Annika Nowak, a representative from the EU Commissioner’s office for Health and Food Safety, will give a presentation on „Patient orientation in the focus of EU Healthcare Policy„.

Approximately 150 – 170 top decision-makers from Europe’s hospitals are expected to attend. All presentations will be translated simultaneously into English, French and German.

The supporting program

Our guests will be served a lunch at the event on 19 November.

On the evening of 19 November you will be welcomed by representatives of HOPE, EAHM and AEMH to a comfortable and traditional venue in Cologne. In addition to an interesting framework programme we will offer you a wide selection of culinary treats and refreshing beverages at the evening event.


Gesellschaft Deutscher Krankenhaustag mbH (GDK)
Haus der Ärzteschaft
Tersteegenstr. 9
40474 Düsseldorf

Messe Düsseldorf GmbH
Messeplatz, Stockumer Kirchstrasse 61
40474 Düsseldorf

Source: medica-tradefair.com

Improved brain implants

These types of brain implants, or neuro-prostheses as they are sometimes called, are used to treat Parkinson’s disease and other neurological diseases; © panthermedia.net/imagepointfr

By implanting electrodes in the brain tissue one can stimulate or capture signals from different areas of the brain. These types of brain implants, or neuro-prostheses as they are sometimes called, are used to treat Parkinson’s disease and other neurological diseases.

They are currently being tested in other areas, such as depression, severe cases of autism, obsessive-compulsive disorders and paralysis. Another research track is to determine whether retinal implants are able to replace light-sensitive cells that die in cases of Retinitis Pigmentosa and other eye diseases.

However, there are severe drawbacks associated with today’s implants. One problem is that the body interprets the implants as foreign objects, resulting in an encapsulation of the electrode, which in turn leads to loss of signal.

„Our nanowire structure prevents the cells that usually encapsulate the electrodes – glial cells – from doing so”, says Christelle Prinz, researcher in Nanophysics at Lund University in Sweden, who developed this technique together with Maria Thereza Perez, a researcher in Ophthalmology.

„I was very pleasantly surprised by these results. In previous in-vitro experiments, the glial cells usually attach strongly to the electrodes”, she says.

To avoid this, the researchers have developed a small substrate where regions of super thin nanowires are combined with flat regions. While neurons grow and extend processes on the nanowires, the glial cells primarily occupy the flat regions in between.

„The different types of cells continue to interact. This is necessary for the neurons to survive because the glial cells provide them with important molecules.”

So far, tests have only been done with cultured cells (in vitro) but hopefully they will soon be able to continue with experiments in vivo.
The substrate is made from the semiconductor material gallium phosphide where each outgrowing nanowire has a diameter of only 80 nanometres (billionths of a metre).

MEDICA-tradefair.com; Source: Lund University

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