Medical Device Daily s

Results of Sunday's legislative election in Germany were greeted warmly by the association of medical device manufacturers BVMed (Bundesverband Medizintechnologie).

In the lead article for the association's October newsletter, MedInsight, issued two days early, BVMed welcomed the victory of Chancellor Angela Merkel's party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), which held on to the largest number of seats in the Bundestag.

Yet with only 34% of representatives, CDU can not govern without the support of a second party and here BVMed celebrated a sudden surge for the "pro-business Free Democrat Party" that it described as the preferred party to govern with CDU.

Together the two parties will give Merkel a narrow majority on most legislation.

The FDP victory means Merkel has "ditched the center-left Social Democrats (SDP) with whom she has shared power in an uneasy coalition since 2005."

BVMed quickly began speculating about who will be named the new Health Minister in the shake up of the cabinet that will follow this shift in power. The current health minister, Ulla Schmidt, is a member of the weakened SPD party.

Results from elections in three German states, Saxony Thuringia and Saarland will also stir up the health ministries in those governments.

A government more friendly toward business can be expected to translate into policies and program more supportive of medical technologies in Germany.

German companies produce more than $17.5 billion in medical products, of which more than 50% are exported.

After the U.S. and Japan, Germany is the third largest producer in this industrial segment that is expected to have the highest growth potential among German industries moving forward.

In the recent issue of MedInsight, BVMed reports that a study completed by the Institute of the German Economy analyzing 35 national industries concluded the top-ranked category for future growth would be medical, measurement engineering and optics.

While growth is frustrated by a relatively low domestic demand, this sector is considered to be strongest against foreign competitors and benefits from sustained high levels of investment.

Through the newly launched High-Tech Strategy for Germany developed in response to the economic crisis, the German government has given "a massive boost to research, technology and innovation investing over $58.5 billion," according to BVMed.

Meanwhile, to stimulate greater domestic demand, Germany enacted the Innovation Clause (NUB; Neue Untersuchungs und Behandlungsmethoden) to expedite reimbursement for the adoption of new technologies and treatments in hospitals.

As a result, according to BVMed, hospitals do not have to finance innovative technologies out-of-pocket for years in advance and companies are rewarded for promoting innovations.

In 2009 7,500 NUB applications were approved and 87 new treatments were included in the German DRG system.

The German Federal Statistical Agency (Destatis) reported 17.4 million people were treated on an inpatient basis in one of Germany's 2,067 hospitals in 2008. The average length of stay was 8.1 days, a modest decrease from 8.3 days in 2007.

Destatis reports a total of 500,000 beds were available, a decrease of 7,500 beds, and 48.7% are in public hospitals.

Artiste Solution debuts at Derby

Royal Derby Hospital (RDH; Derby, UK), part of Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, recently treated its first radical patient case on the Artiste IGRT Solution linear accelerator from Siemens Healthcare (Erlangen, Germany). RDH is the first UK site to install the system.

The image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) Artiste Solution is a linear accelerator specifically for adaptive radiation therapy (ART). This technology ensures that therapeutic dose is delivered precisely to the target while sparing healthy tissue. It features the new 160 MLC with small, 5 mm leaf width over the full field, allowing much greater conformance to tumor shape and size. This means that clinicians can provide the most efficient treatment plan while ensuring that patients are only exposed to a clinically relevant dose.

"The Siemens linear accelerators offer the very latest technology," said Wendy Steele, Service Manager, Radiotherapy and Radiation Physics at RDH. "Having three Siemens linear accelerators already installed, we knew that the Artiste Solution would work well with our workload. The design is also very patient friendly; only two sides of the patient are covered when they're undergoing simultaneous treatment and imaging, which gives them a feeling of space. We have a long association with Siemens and can be assured of good treatments and a high standard of patient comfort."

RDH is a new £334 million build on the Trust site and is one of the biggest hospitals in the East Midlands. With the transfer of all services from Derbyshire Royal Infirmary currently underway, the new hospital is bringing all specialist treatment together on one site to provide an all inclusive service. Two Oncor linear accelerators and a Primus model, all from Siemens, are still in use on the old site; the Oncor systems are being transferred to RDH during September.

Pantec granted patent for P.L.E.A.S.E

Pantec Biosolutions (Liechtenstein), a privately owned company developing innovative transdermal drug delivery products, reported that it has been granted European Patent No. EP1874213, titled "Laser Microporator" by the European Patent Office. The patent, which was granted in September, covers the technology used in the company's lead product P.L.E.A.S.E. (Painless Laser Epidermal System) for creating micropores in the human skin prior to transdermal large molecular weight drug administration.

"We are delighted that Pantec has been granted this patent. After receiving CE marking and marketing clearance for P.L.E.A.S.E. last year, it is important for us to know that our key technology is now protected by patent laws," said company CTO Thomas Bragagna.

Pantec currently has an additional 19 applications pending in the U.S, Europe and Japan. The company said it plans to further develop its patent portfolio with the help of a well-balanced IP strategy in order to focus on current and future applications within the most important markets.