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MedTech Industry Reels from Covid-19

While the MedTech industry has been taking the lead on supplying essential equipment for COVID-19, the pandemic is set to shake the industry’s viability in Australia, putting jobs, supplies and even companies at risk.

The greatest impact comes through the cancellation of non-urgent elective surgery from 26 March. Companies were already reporting cancellation of elective surgery during March with specialist colleges such as the Australian Orthopaedic Association notifying that surgery would need to be scaled back.

However, the Prime Minister’s announcement that non-urgent elective surgeries would be cancelled from 26 March, with exemptions later provided until 1 April, means a dramatic overnight loss of revenue for many companies whose revenue is generated from the devices used in this type of surgery.

Category 3 surgeries include the following procedures in which prostheses and devices are heavily used:

  • Total hip replacement
  • Total knee replacement
  • Shoulder reconstruction
  • Cataract extraction (+/- intra-ocular lens insertion)
  • Breast reconstruction (for reasons other than cosmetic)

While some more urgent Category 2 surgeries will be allowed, many prostheses or devices will be in the large majority that are now on hold.

Supply and freight costs have increased across the board, in some cases as much as 500%, as companies work to bring crucial medical supplies into Australia, with these impacts further exacerbated by the drop in the Australian dollar.

MTAA and its members are committed to the war effort, however, our industry is facing unprecedented challenges, both economically and in meeting the needs of the local supply chain.

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