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Knock Right Doors At Right Time

Advises Mr. Leendart Santema to Medical Device Exporters From Developing Countries


Mr. Leendart Santema

Mr. Santema has visited and mentored more number of Medical Device Companies from India than any other professional. By holding their hands tightly in his hands , he made them get converted into successful medical device exporters to European Markets.

A hard to find combination of medical background and expertise in medical devices marketing, he now thrives on the combination. Because of his medical background , he is always eager to keep up with all the latest medical discoveries and developments. Over the years he has taken countless courses on everything from intensive care to orthopaedics. He works as a consultant, CBI Medical Expert and as director of a company that produces intensive care products and products for total pain management.


Alertness is a key quality in any business, but especially in the shifting sands of the medical industry.


The medical world is constantly changing, as technological advances and shifting social currents close some doors and open others. Producers from developing countries, whether hi-tech innovators or second-quality commodity suppliers, face many opportunities- as long as they knock on the right doors at the right time.


Social and Structural Changes


Medical and technological demands are not the only thing exporters should constantly be listening for. Social and structural changes influencing the market are at least as important. As an example, changes in the medical insurance branch in the Netherlands are affecting the income of doctors: rather than getting a fixed monthly paycheck, more and more Dutch doctors find their incomes vary with the number of operations they perform. Obviously, theyre interested in new technologies that can boost their position on the medical front, for instance by providing effective solutions for problems otherwise handled outside the hospital. The possibilities offered by the new so-called minimally invasive surgery (MIS) are of great medical interest, but also of great interest to Dutch surgeons looking for new, fast surgical solutions. With MIS, a surgeon can perform a bypass without even opening up the patients thorax. The cost savings are huge, so an MIS qualified surgeon can handle far more patients. Its good for his wallet but even better for the healthcare sector. Innovation is a hot item and a lot of participants of CBIs Export Coaching Programme from countries like South Africa, India and Pakistan, have the wherewithal to be on the cutting edge.


Sponsoring is the big issue in the UK medical sector. Large pharmaceutical firms are sponsoring or buying up many hospitals. Boot, the pharmacy chain, already owns five or six hospitals. Naturally, those products used in those hospitals are now dictated by Boots. These are important trends for exporters to be aware of, as they can heavily affect your market entry strategies.

Another trend, particularly visible in more conservative countries like Germany, France and Switzerland where hospitals still tends to be run by doctors and surgeons, is the rise of private clinics. Again this trend opens up new channels for exporters.


Selecting The Right Distributor


In the CBI programme , offers a complete range of products that for many buyers we are almost a onestop shop. Our range is one of the factors that make buyers not yet familiar with the CBI visit our pavilions at European trade fairs like Medica 2007. And the range definitely included commodities manufacturers.


The 68th Expro seminar, part of the CBIs Export Coaching Programme (ECP) for manufacturers of medical devices and supplies, took place from September 17 to 22 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The exporters participating in the programme, representing Colombia Egypt, Jordan, India, Pakistan and South Africa, supply a wide range of medical products and are undergoing through training in all things related to exporting in general and the European medical industry in particular. Most of them, following the Expro seminar, are now preparing for Medica 2007, a leading European trade fair for this sector set to take place in Dusseldorf, Germany, this November. The purpose of the Expro seminar was to help them dot the is in their individual Export Marketing Plans. Says CBI external expert.


The key in accessing the EU market whether your product is a breakthrough innovation or an old familiar commodity lies in finding the right distributor. A lot of exporters try to access end users. But end users dont usually direct buying in this sector. It is not likely that the Dutch hospital will send someone to India to purchase supplies. But a distributor will. The key to sales is to find a reliable distributor who knows your product and understands its particular market segment. The benefit of contacting end users like doctors during trade fairs and conferences is that you can convince them of the quality of your product and then use them as a reference in contacting their distributor. But the distributors usually do the buying and selling.


(Abstracted from CBI News , the bulletin ( 317 ) published by Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries ( CBI , ), an agency of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs )